Pakistan

ISLAMABAD – The Islamabad High Court has dismissed a plea filed by former president Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf seeking a stay in proceedings of high treason case against him.

A two-member bench, comprising Justice Amir Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, heard a petition against an order passed by a special court pertaining to the formation of a commission to record his statement in the case.

The former army chief argued that formation of a commission to record his statement was unprecedented in Pakistan’s criminal procedure.

During the hearing, Barrister Salman Safdar, the counsel for Musharraf, said his client was a proclaimed offender in the Article-6 case.

At this, Justice Farooq inquired how the plea filed by a proclaimed offender was admissible then.

Replying to a question asked by Justice Kayani, Safdar said that his client wants to return to Pakistan to record his statement but is unable to do it as he is suffering from a rare disease.

Justice Farooq inquired if there was any ban on Musharraf’s return. “If not, then he should come back from Dubai. It is only 1-2 hours flight,” he said.

The lawyer said that Musharraf was not returning only because of the ailment.

At this, Justice Farooq remarked that the plea cannot be heard until the proclaimed offender surrender himself before the court.

The court asked the lawyer to assist it to understand how this petition is admissible during the next hearing.

The court then adjourned the hearing until November 19. It will decide about the admissibility of the petition against the formation of a commission to record former army chief’s statement in next hearing.

When Musharraf’s counsel requested to stay proceedings in the high treason case set to be held on Wednesday, Justice Farooq told him that he himself informed the court that a new bench had not been formed after the retirement of presiding officer of the special court.

The high court judge questioned the need for such an order while the bench is yet to be constituted.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government had filed the treason case against Musharraf over the president’s imposition of extra-constitutional emergency in November 2007.

He was indicted in the case in March 2014 after he appeared before the court where he had rejected all charges against him.