Musharraf given three options by SC to record statement

ISLAMABAD: Former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf was given three options by the Supreme Court on Monday to record his statement in the prolonged high-treason case.

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Ex-President was given options to either appear personally before court in the next hearing, or send a video of his recorded statement, or have his lawyer Salman Safdar record the statement on his behalf. These options were given by the Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa who presided a three-member bench hearing the case.

Safdar’s adjournment request was denied by the court.

CJP Khosa detected in his remarks that ex-president would be hospitalized after the preceding hearing. Musharraf was admitted in a Dubai hospital and was discharged last weekend.

CJP remarked, “The question is, if a suspect does not deliberately appear before the court then is the court totally helpless? If the law is silent on the matter then the Constitution gives powers to the Supreme Court to act.”

Ex-president’s counsel informed the court that the government had permitted him to leave the country, to which the CJP remarked, “the government [may] have its own priorities but the Supreme Court’s priority is only the supremacy of the law in the country.”

Top Court had previously demanded a report from special courts regarding the holdup in the treason case hearing and had sought response from the government pertaining to the steps taken to make Musharraf’s return to Pakistan possible.

High-treason case

The high-treason case against Musharraf was submitted by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government for ex-president’s enforcement of extra-constitutional emergency in November 2007.

Mohammad Akram Sheikh was selected by the PML-N government to preside the prosecution for Musharraf case in November 2013 who resigned earlier this year articulating his helplessness to continue with the case following Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI’s) rise to power.

Ex-Chief of Army Staff was presented before the court in March 2014 and was indicted despite denying all charges leveled against him.

Musharraf left for Dubai two year later in 2016 seeking medical treatment following removal of his name from the exit control list by the Supreme Court.

SC later proclaimed ex-COAS as an offender and ordered to impound his properties for not showing up to the court in person. Top Court subsequently ordered to cancel Musharraf’s passport and identity card.

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