Special court adjourns hearing of treason case

Updated 15 Apr 2014

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ISLAMABAD: The special court constituted to try former military ruler Pervez Musharraf for high treason on Tuesday resumed hearing of the case in which the defence lawyer Farogh Nasim presented his arguments, DawnNews reported.

The three-judge court, headed by Justice Faisal Arab of the Sindh High Court, heard the case pertaining to treason charges against the former president.

During the hearing, Musharraf’s lawyer Farogh Nasim said in his arguments that the decision related to the appointment of the prosecutor in the case was still pending and the court in its ruling of March 27 had said that the decision would be announced before the start of testimony.

The lawyer asked the court to announce the decision in this regard today.

Justice Arab said that the decision regarding the appointment of the prosecutor would be announced on April 18.

Furthermore, Musharraf’s lawyer Nasim said that the court should also try under the treason charges all abettors in the former president's emergency proclamation of Nov 3, 2007.

Following Nasim's request, the court granted him permission to present his arguments on the issue.

Nasim said according to international laws, a single person could not be targeted under any charge and the people who were mentioned to have been consulted over the Nov 3 notification should also be sent notices and tried in court.

He added that it also included people who had prepared the notification and ensured its implementation but there was no mention of an inquiry against these people in the investigation report.

The lawyer also said that the Federal Investigation Agency’s report had also not been made public yet.

Nasim claimed that a member of the investigation committee wrote a dissenting note which was not included and questioned the prosecution's motives for excluding the note.

Farogh Nasim demanded that the court should order for the provision of a copy of the investigation report and the dissenting note.

Moreover, Nasim said that it was the prosecution’s duty to bring forth all the evidence regarding Nov 3.

Akram Sheikh while presenting his arguments said that if it was the legal right of the suspect to get the report then it would be provided and that the law would have to be re-examined in this regard.

Sheikh said the court gave its verdict on March 7 regarding trial of others involved in Nov 3 decision according to which if evidences were found against anyone in the records then the court would consider it. He added that the court had said the point would be reviewed during the proceedings of the case.

Under Section 5 of the Special Court Act, the federal government was obligated to provide only three documents which included details of the crime, complaint and list of witnesses, he added.

He further said that as the special court is not a high court, it cannot apply the Section 561 of the military law to this case.

Sheikh said that the government was not obligated to present the joint investigation report (JIT) and the officer who gave the dissenting note was also a witness.

The chief prosecutor further said that he would be presented in court along with his report and Nasim could cross examine him then.

He also said that the JIT would be presented in court and to the defence attorney

Subsequently, the court adjourned the hearing of the case until tomorrow after listening to the arguments of both parties.

In the last hearing of the case, the court had read out the indictment against the ex-army strongman, with Musharraf pleading "not guilty" to each of the charges.

The court had also granted Musharraf exemption from appearing in the case's hearings, saying the accused could be ordered to appear whenever required.