ISLAMABAD, Feb 23: A citizen who petitioned the Supreme Court against the Lal Masjid operation on Saturday requested the one-man commission to take legal action against former President Pervez Musharraf in order to procure his attendance.

The commission of Justice Shehzado Sheikh of Federal Shariat Court (FSC) was constituted by the Supreme Court in December 2012. It commenced proceedings on December 19. The commission on Friday completed the recording of testimony of the witnesses and started compiling its report which would be submitted to the apex court by March.

The former president was repeatedly summoned by the commission for recording his statement but he did not receive the last notice sent to him through the ministry of foreign affairs.

On Saturday, Tariq Asad, the counsel for Akmal Saleemi, the petitioner in the Lal Masjid case, contended that the evidence of Mr Musharraf and former prime minister Shaukat Aziz was indispensable in the case. He said the commission may procure their attendance under section 30 (b) and 32 of the Civil Procedure Code (CPC), which empowered the judge to issue warrants for the arrest of a witness or confiscate his property if he does not appear before it.

Advocate Asad criticised Wafaqul Madaris for not cooperating with the commission. He said clerics of Wafaqul Madaris had created hurdles in the smooth proceedings of the commission. According to him, they had also restrained the students of Jamia Faridia and other affiliated maddressahs from appearing before the commission.

The application pointed out that former MNA Shah Abdul Aziz was also a witness in the case and was not cross-examined because he was not present in the country.

Sehaba Musharraf application

In Rawalpindi, the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) gave final opportunity to the counsel for Sehba Musharraf to argue and produce evidence in support of an application filed against the confiscation of the former president’s property.

In August 2011, the ATC had ordered the seizure of the property of Mr Musharraf, an accused in the Benazir Bhutto assassination case, after he did not appear before the court.

When ATC Judge Chaudhry Habibur Rehman took up the case, Ilyas Siddiqui, the counsel for Ms Sehba, was in the Lahore High Court (LHC)’s Rawalpindi bench in connection with the annual election of the bar.

The judge remarked that if the counsel was not interested in arguing the case or producing evidence, the case may be dismissed. Later, however, advocate Siddiqui arrived in the court.

During the hearing, Rao Abdul Rahim, a lawyer, manhandled senior journalist Qaiser Sherazi when the latter was explaining to the court the airing of a news item related to Ms Sehba’s application.

Advocate Rahim, the counsel for Abdul Rashid, one of the accused persons in the Benazir murder case, also used abusive language against the journalist and asked him to leave the premises. He also threatened him with dire consequences.

Other journalists later reported the incident to the office-bearers of the district bar association.

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