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Court adjourns Musharraf trial, bail hearing

November 01, 2013
Pervez Musharraf — File photo
Pervez Musharraf — File photo

ISLAMABAD: A local court in Islamabad on Friday adjourned the hearing of the bail plea filed by former dictator Pervez Musharraf in a case relating to the killing of Lal Masjid cleric Ghazi Abdul Rasheed to Nov 4. Moreover, the former president's trial in the case was postponed to Nov 11.

Islamabad's additional district and sessions judge (ADSJ) Wajid Ali heard Musharraf's bail application without arriving at a resolution.

During the hearing, Tariq Asad, the counsel of the complainant, Haroon Rasheed, and a representative of the Lal Masjid Shuhada Foundation, alleged that the police had destroyed all the evidence and subsequently declared Musharraf ‘innocent’ in the murder of Ghazi Abdul Rasheed.

Asad said he wanted to provide more evidence before the court, adding that a case "as important as this" should not be handled in a roughshod manner.

The counsel further requested the court to postpone its decision on the former military ruler's bail plea so that he may present more evidence before it.

Asad referred to the statement of an additional witness, saying he wanted to present his arguments on that.

Musharraf's counsel, Ilyas Siddiqui, on the other hand requested the court to decide on the bail plea today and said his client should not suffer on account of the lack of preparation on part of the complainant's lawyer.

The court subsequently adjourned the hearing of the bail plea to Nov 4.

Moreover, Musharraf's trial hearing was also postponed to Nov 11 when the judge said he had not received a notification for the former president's jail trial.

The judge said the jail trial could not commence until a notification was received in this respect.

Musharraf was booked in the murder case of Lal Masjid cleric Ghazi Abdul Rasheed on Sept 2 after Haroon Rasheed, the cleric’s son, approached the IHC for registering an FIR against the former dictator for launching the 2007 operation. During the operation, 102 people – 10 army men, one Rangers official, three civilians and 88 people inside the mosque – had died.

Musharraf seized power in a 1999 coup but was forced into exile nine years later after a showdown with the judiciary. He returned to Pakistan this year to contest May elections but was barred from contesting by a flurry of court cases.

He is also embroiled in four other cases: the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, the murder of Baloch nationalist leader Nawab Akbar Bugti, the detention of deposed Supreme Court judges and the declaration of emergency on Nov 3, 2007.