ISLAMABAD: The special court that is hearing Pervez Musharraf’s high treason case granted him the third exemption from personal appearance on Monday, but directed the medical superintendent or some other official of the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology (AFIC) to produce Musharraf’s medical certificate today (Tuesday).
While hearing the treason case the three-member bench again rejected the plea of the special prosecutor to issue Musharraf’s arrest warrant. The court observed that the accused has engaged counsels to represent him in this case and he was presently admitted in hospital, therefore, it would not issue his arrest warrant.
It, however, said that the defence counsel had failed to produce medical certificate of the accused or any other document related to his illness, and directed the medical superintendent or any other official of the AFIC to produce Musharraf’s medical certificate by 11:30am by today (Tuesday). On the other hand, special prosecutor Akram Sheikh has requested the court to constitute a medical board to examine the illness of Musharraf. Upon this, Justice Faisal Arab said that they would consider his plea at a later stage.
The defence counsel and the prosecution exchanged strong words during the hearing on Monday. The special prosecutor stated that a person could not hide in AFIC to avoid his trial. The defence side strongly protested these remarks. Musharraf’s counsel Ahmad Raza Qasuri alleged that the special prosecutor was maligning the Pakistan Army. He shouted, “Stop it otherwise we know how to stop you!” Another of Musharraf’s counsels, Anwar Mansoor Khan, said that an institution should not be maligned. However, Justice Faisal Arab asked the counsels of the accused to avoid cross talk.
However, Ahmad Raza Qasuri continued shouting over the special prosecutor’s remark, after which Justice Arab observed that this amounts to interrupting the court’s proceedings. Akram Sheikh said that he was not only addressing the press but also the court “as majesty of law should not be compromised”, adding that until now no medical certificate and application has been filed in the court to prove that the accused was physically disabled.
He reminded the bench that he was the lawyer of former army chief Aslam Baig in Asghar Khan case and his client had appeared in the court 117 times. “Your lordship has the command to proceed with the case in accordance with law and should issue the production order of the accused,” Akram Sheikh contended, adding that the court had exempted the accused three times from appearance before the court despite the fact that no medical certificate was filed on his behalf.
“I have to defend the dignity of this court and there is no exemption of the accused in this law, the Criminal Law Amended (Special Court) Act 1976,” he said. Regarding the maintainability of Musharraf’s petitions, Akram Sheikh contended that the executive had done nothing wrong and acted in accordance with law by constituting the special court for the trial of the accused.
He contended that instead of filing appeals before this court, the defence side had filed appeals in the Islamabad High Court against the constitution of the special court as well as against the appointment of special prosecutor, and these appeals are still pending before the high court. The court will resume hearing of the case today.