ISLAMABAD: Special Public Prosecutor Muhammad Akram Sheikh has suggested initiating a coercive process like issuance of red warrants (through Interpol) or forfeiture of surety of retired Gen Pervez Musharraf to record his statement under Section 342 of the CrPC.

In a statement submitted before a special court on Saturday, the prosecutor also proposed a second option for the purpose, saying the facility of a video link or Skype could be used in the interest of justice to record the former president’s statement.

The three-man special court seized with a treason case against Mr Musharraf for his Nov 3, 2007 proclamation of a state of emergency in the country would resume the hearing on April 19.

The prosecutor submitted his statement in compliance with the court’s earlier directions to explain why Mr Musharraf had been allowed to leave the country despite the fact that he had been summoned by the special court.


Prosecutor proposes using video link facility or Skype to record the former president’s statement


The defence is expected to file its explanation on Monday.

The prosecutor said that the onus of appearance before the court rested with the accused (Mr Musharraf) and the defence counsel. He said the accused had given an undertaking to the court for his appearance as and when directed.

Therefore, it was for the accused to explain why he had failed to appear wilfully and intentionally and it was for him to file an application on the last date of hearing for seeking exemption from court attendance.

The statement recalled that the accused in his application submitted before the Supreme Court had asked for one-time permission for surgery after which he would return to Pakistan.

In the light of orders passed by the special court, it was mandatory for the accused to have submitted an application to this court as well to seek permission for leaving the country because he had already been summoned for the hearing on March 31.

Mr Sheikh said that soon after his appointment as special prosecutor he had written a letter on Dec 25, 2013 to the then Interior Secretary Shahid Khan, requesting him to place Mr Musharraf’s name on the Exit Control List (ECL), otherwise the concept of a fast-track trial as envisioned by the special law might be jeopardised.

At that time, he said, Mr Musharraf’s name was already on the ECL on the orders of the Sindh High Court which had granted transitory bail to the accused.

But the prosecutor was always mindful that specifically for the treason trial Mr Musharraf’s name should be permanently placed on the ECL. The investigation team of FIA while submitting its report on Nov 16, 2013 had also expressed apprehensions that because of lack of evidence in support of his defence Gen Musharraf may attempt to leave the country, he added.

Therefore, the inquiry team promptly moved the interior ministry to place Mr Musharraf’s name on the ECL as being subject of investigation of high treason under Article 6 of the Constitution.

The prosecutor’s statement recalled that the counsel defending the accused was present in the court on March 8, and the court had categorically directed them to ensure the presence of the accused on the next hearing.

This order was also disseminated through the media, therefore there could be no room for lack of knowledge of this order and thus no room for condoning absence of the accused, the statement emphasised.

As per law, the statement said, matters relating to the custody of an accused and restricting or permitting his freedom of movement are dealt with by the court which has taken cognisance of the case against him.

It recalled that the accused had four other criminal cases pending against him and in all those cases he had secured bail from the court concerned.

However, in the high treason case the special court was pleased to grant him exemption from appearance till otherwise so directed.

Had the special court deemed it appropriate to have regulated the custody of the accused, the statement argued, a caveat could have been inserted in the orders permitting him exemption from appearance to the effect that any departure from Pakistan would be subject to approval from this court.

Published in Dawn, April 17th, 2016

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