ISLAMABAD: The special court constituted to try former military ruler Pervez Musharraf for high treason indicted him on Monday and put the ball in the government's court in relation to the request put forward by the former president to be allowed to travel abroad, DawnNews reported.

The registrar of the special court read out the court's decision on the request of the former military dictator to travel abroad in order to meet his ailing mother. The court also granted Musharraf exemption from appearing in the case's hearings saying the accused could be ordered to appear in court whenever required.

The decision said that as long as the accused was not in custody, he could seek medical treatment at any place of his choice, adding that an accused could not be restrained from travelling nor could his/her rights as a human being be curtailed for any reason.

However, the court added that removal of Musharraf's name from ECL was not the prerogative of the special court as it had not ordered for the inclusion of his name in the list in the first place.

The hearing of the case was adjourned to April 15.

Earlier during the day, the three judge court headed by Justice Faisal Arab of the Sindh High Court read out the indictment against the ex-army strongman, with Musharraf pleading "not guilty" to each of them.

Musharraf, who has been absent from most of the tribunal's hearings owing to security threats and ill health, then turned to address the court.

"I honour this court and prosecution, I strongly believe in law I don't have ego problems, and I have appeared in court 16 times in this year in Karachi, Islamabad and Rawalpindi," the 70-year-old, who ruled from 1999 to 2008, said.

"I am being called a traitor, I have been chief of army staff for nine years and I have served this army for 45 years. I have fought two wars and it is 'treason'?"

The indictment [see full version below] cited imposition of Nov 3, 2007 emergency as one of the charges against Musharraf which led to the violation of Article 6 of the Constitution. It also included the deposition of superior court judges and the suspension of fundamental rights among the list of charges.

The charge sheet, which Musharraf signed today, also refers to his oath-taking under the Provisional Constitution Order (PCO).

The former military ruler has pleaded not guilty, saying he would stand his ground.


Musharraf's movements, arrest order


The indictment took place after Musharraf's arrival at the special court from the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology (AFIC), where he has been residing for nearly three months.

Also today, Farogh Naseem, who is now representing Musharraf, requested the court to allow his client to travel to Dubai to see his ailing mother. He said the Constitution did not allow anyone to restrict the movements of a citizen.

Naseem said Musharraf had arrived in court voluntarily, adding that the warrant against his client had not been implemented.

Naseem moreover said that his client himself was unwell and that Musharraf’s proper treatment was only possible in the United States.

For nearly three months, Musharraf has been in the AFIC where he was taken after developing a cardiac condition.

Musharraf had to rush to the AFIC on Jan 2 after he suffered chest pain while he was on his way to the special court. Initially, he was kept in the ICU but was later shifted to a room.

Late on Saturday, Musharraf was again moved to the AFIC’s ICU after his condition deteriorated due to stress upon receiving the news of his mother's illness who is currently hospitalised in Sharjah and is suffering from respiratory complications.

Also earlier, a non-bailable arrest warrant was issued against Musharraf in case he failed to appear before the court today.


Security arrangements


For his appearance in the special court today, three different routes were established by the capital police before Musharraf’s departure from AFIC.

A police squad and commandos had reached AFIC early in the morning to escort Musharraf to the court's premises.

For the former president’s security, three thousand police and Rangers personnel were deployed on the routes.

The police squad is being headed by Superintendent Police Islamabad Mustanser Feroz and strict security measures were also in place outside AFIC.


Full charge sheet


Firstly, on 3rd November, 2007 at Rawalpindi as Chief of the Army Staff, he issued an unconstitutional and unlawful “Proclamation of Emergency Order, 2007” which, unconstitutionally and unlawfully, held the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 in abeyance and he thereby subverted the Constitution and thus committed the offence of high treason punishable under section 2 of the High Treason (Punishment) Act, 1973 (Act LXVIII of 1973), which is within the jurisdiction of the Special Court established under section 4 of The Criminal Law Amendment. (Special Courts) Act, 1976 (XVII of 1976).

Secondly, on 3rd November, 2007 at Rawalpindi as Chief of the Army Staff, he issued an unconstitutional and unlawful “Provisional Constitution Order No.1 of 2007” which, unconstitutionally and unlawfully, empowered the President to amend the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 from time to time and he also suspended the Fundamental Rights enshrined in Articles 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 19 and 25 of the Constitution and he thereby subverted the Constitution and thus committed the offence of high treason punishable under section 2 of the High Treason (Punishment) Act, 1973 (Act LXVIII of 1973), which is within the jurisdiction of the Special Court established under section 4 of The Criminal Law Amendment (Special Courts) Act, 1976 (XVII of 1976).

Thirdly, on 3rd November, 2007 at Rawalpindi as President of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, he issued an unconstitutional and unlawful “Oath of Office (Judges) Order, 2007” whereby an oath was, unconstitutionally and unlawfully, introduced in the Schedule which required a judge to abide by the provisions of the Proclamation of Emergency dated 03.11.2007 and the Provisional Constitutional Order dated 03.11.2007 to perform acts and functions in accordance thereof and this order also resulted in removal of numerous judges of the superior courts including the Honorable Chief Justice of Pakistan and he thereby subverted the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 and thus committed the offence of high treason punishable under section 2 of the High Treason (Punishment) Act, 1973 (Act LXVIII of 1973), which is within the jurisdiction of the Special Court established under section 4 of The Criminal Law Amendment (Special Courts) Act, 1976 (XVII of 1976).

Fourthly, 20th November, 2007 at Rawalpindi as President of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, he issued an unconstitutional and unlawful Order 5 of 2007 “Constitution (Amendment) Order, 2007” whereby Articles 175, 186-A, 198, 218, 270B and 270C were, unconstitutionally and unlawfully, amended and Article 270AAA was added to the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 and he thereby subverted the Constitution and thus committed the offence of high treason punishable under section 2 of the High Treason (Punishment) Act, 1973 (Act LXVIII of 1973), which is within the jurisdiction of the Special Court established under section 4 of The Criminal Law Amendment (Special Courts) Act, 1976 (XVII of 1976).

Fifthly, on 14th December, 2007 at Rawalpindi as President of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, he issued an unconstitutional and unlawful Order 6 of 2007 “Constitution (Second Amendment) Order, 2007” whereby the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 was, unconstitutionally and unlawfully, amended and he thereby subverted the Constitution and thus committed the offence of high treason punishable under section 2 of the High Treason (Punishment) Act, 1973 (Act LXVIII of 1973), which is within the jurisdiction of the Special Court established under section 4 of The Criminal Law Amendment (Special Courts) Act, 1976 (XVII of 1976).