ISLAMABAD: The All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) has said its chief retired Gen Pervez Musharraf will accept whatever decision the Supreme Court takes on Friday about his arrest.
Speaking at a press conference after the Islamabad High Court rejected the former military ruler’s plea for bail before arrest on Thursday, APML secretary general Dr Mohammad Amjad denied that Gen Musharraf had fled from the court and said he had been taken to his farmhouse in Chak Shahzad only to protect him from agitated lawyers on the court’s premises.
“The Supreme Court is our last hope and we believe that it will provide justice to Gen Musharraf and, if not, he will surrender himself,” he said.
The escape of the former president from the court has raised many questions about the role of the caretaker set-up and its failure to arrest him soon after the rejection of his bail plea by Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the IHC.
“After the court’s decision no police came to take Gen Musharraf into custody and some agitated lawyers tried to attack him. Therefore, he was taken to his farmhouse,” Mr Amjad said.
About the IHC’s judgment, he said the charges levelled against the former president were bailable, but he had been punished under the anti-terrorism act which could not be applied to this case.
Terming a group of lawyers from Rawalpindi ‘111 Brigade’ of the Supreme Court, he alleged that they had thrashed AMPL supporters on Wednesday and wanted to attack Gen Musharraf on the IHC premises.
In reply to a question about the retired general’s future plans, Mr Amjad said: “Tomorrow a bail before arrest plea would be filed in the Supreme Court and if his house is declared a sub-jail before Friday morning a request for bail after arrest would be submitted.”
He said Gen Musharraf’s lawyers had approached the Supreme Court in the evening, but it declined to entertain them in the absence of the IHC order. “We tried to get the written order of the court, but could not obtain it till 4pm,” he said.
He claimed that the apex court in a separate case relating to article 6 of the constitution had recently ordered that Gen Musharraf should not be arrested because of security concerns and that he should also be exempted from personally appearing before courts.
Asked if any attempt had been made by police to arrest Gen Musharraf, Mr Amjad said some senior officers of the Islamabad police had visited his palatial farmhouse in the evening but only discussed issues relating to his security.
A source in the interior ministry said the local administration and police wanted to declare his house a sub-jail so that they could technically claim that the former president had been arrested on the court’s orders.
According to sources, the caretaker government is in a fix over how to handle the situation because the arrest of a former army chief is unprecedented in the country. But it has to comply with the court’s orders.
In reply to a question, the APML secretary general said the party would take part in the May 11 elections even its chief was arrested. He claimed that 1,100 people had applied for the party’s tickets, but 148 were awarded tickets for national and 212 for provincial assembly seats.