RAWALPINDI: An anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi here on Monday dismissed former military ruler Pervez Musharraf’s petition against use of ‘video link‘ to record American journalist and lobbyist Mark Seigel’s statement in Benazir Bhutto murder case.
The court in its verdict announced that recording of Seigel’s statement via video link was justified.
Earlier, while presenting his arguments, Musharraf’s counsel Barrister Farogh Naseem told court that legal requirements were not fulfilled while recording statement of the key prosecution witness. He requested the court to summon him to Pakistan for this purpose.
Prosecutor Khawaja Imtiaz informed that the accused raised no objection before recording of Seigel’s testimony. The statement was recorded after three months of struggle but Musharraf then as well never objected to it.
While rejecting the former president’s petition, the ATC directed the concerned authorities to take another appointment from Siegel for cross-examination in the case.
Subsequently, the case hearing was adjourned till December 2.
Seigel, a Washington lobbyist and a friend of late prime minister Benazir Bhutto, had cited security reasons for his refusal to appear in person to record his statement against former military ruler Pervez Musharraf in the Benazir Bhutto assassination case.
While recording his testimony through video link from the United States on October 18, Mark Siegel claimed he was with Benazir Bhutto on September 25, 2007, when she had received a call from Musharraf “threatening her with dire consequences if she returned to Pakistan.”
Siegel had stated that Benazir sent him an important email after reaching Pakistan in which she had said “if something happens to her Musharraf should be held responsible for that”.
Two months later, Bhutto was assassinated in a suicide attack outside Rawalpindi on December 27, 2007, after she addressed an election campaign rally.
In August 2013, Musharraf was indicted in the case. He was charged with murder, criminal conspiracy for murder and facilitation for murder.
Musharraf denied all the charges and blamed the then leader of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Baitullah Mehsud for the attack.