ISLAMABAD, June 4: The judges’ detention case took another turn in Islamabad High Court (IHC) when a judge excused himself from hearing the post-arrest bail application of former president Gen (retired) Pervez Musharraf on Tuesday.

When a two-member division bench resumed the hearing of the bail plea, one of the judges, Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, surprised Musharraf’s counsel, lawyers and mediapersons present in the courtroom by distancing himself from hearing of the plea.

The judge said he had already been maligned after denying pre-arrest bail to Gen Musharraf in the judges detention case on April 18. On May 27, after initial hearing the arguments of Musharraf’s counsel Ilyas Siddiqui the same bench had issued notices to the state and the complainant in the case.

“A malicious campaign has been launched in the electronic, print and social media against me after I rejected the pre-arrest bail of the applicant in April.”

When Musharraf’s counsel insisted that the judge should hear the bail application as his client had complete confidence in him, Justice Siddiqui said he was feeling uncomfortable with the case.

After his excuse, senior member of the division bench, Justice Riaz Ahmed Khan, forwarded the application to IHC Chief Justice Mohammad Anwar Khan Kasi who will take up the matter on Wednesday.

It may be recalled that on April 18, Justice Siddiqui while rejecting the pre-arrest bail petition of Gen Musharraf had directed the police to also insert a section of the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 in the FIR registered against the former president for confining 60 judges of the superior judiciary in November 2007.

The judge had also directed the police to take the former president in custody, but he escaped from the courtroom.

Musharraf’s trial

IHC registrar Meeran Jan Kakar and chief commissioner Islamabad Jawad Paul on Tuesday inspected the temporary courtroom established in Chak Shahzad farmhouse of the former president which has been declared as a sub-jail.

The IHC on May 4 had approved the trial of Gen Musharraf in the farmhouse but on May 28 reversed its decision after the ATC special judge, Syed Kausar Abbas Zaidi, complained that the district administration had neither established the courtroom in the farmhouse nor made any arrangement for his security.

Among the measures for his security, the ATC judge demanded a bulletproof vehicle, security staff and a residence in the federal capital as currently he is living in Rawalpindi.

For the last a few days, the district administration has repeatedly requested the IHC administration to inspect the courtroom they had established in the farmhouse before the ATC takes up the judges detention case on June 6.

During the inspection of the temporary courtroom, the ATC judge also accompanied the registrar and the chief commissioner.

An IHC official said the registrar would submit its report to IHC Justice Mohammad Anwar Khan Kasi who would decide whether the former military chief would be tried in the open court or at his own residence.

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