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Musharraf has to appear for hearing under any circumstance: court

Updated May 19, 2017 04:31pm

A three-member bench of a special court, headed by Justice Yahya Afridi, on Friday continued its hearing of the high treason case against former president Pervez Musharraf.

During the court proceedings, a representative of the Interior Ministry confirmed that the government was ready to provide Musharraf foolproof security upon his return.

"Musharraf has to appear before the court under any circumstance [now]," Justice Afridi observed.

The ministry also submitted details regarding Musharraf's property holdings to the court, in which it stated that a report regarding the former president's house in the Army Housing Scheme has yet to be submitted by the Director, Military Lands, while the ministry has also yet to receive a response from General Headquarters regarding the accused's property on Khayaban-e-Faisal, Karachi.

The report by the Interior Ministry also stated that though the Islamabad Commissioner had confirmed Musharraf's ownership of the Chak Shahzad farmhouse, reports regarding his properties in Lahore, Karachi and Gwadar are yet to be furnished.

Expressing displeasure with the 'incomplete' report, the court ordered the ministry to furnish full details regarding the accused's properties, failing which the administrators of DHA Lahore and Karachi would be summoned to court.

Representing Musharraf, Akhtar Shah maintained that his client had no residence in Pakistan as all his properties had been forfeited. He further added that the former president was refraining from returning to the country due to security threats.

Based on this, Shah pleaded to the court to adjourn the hearing to a later date.

On the other hand, the government's lawyer, Akram Sheikh, insisted that the trial had been completed.

"There is no need for the accused to submit a statement under Section 342," Sheikh told the court. "The court must announce a verdict now."

Responding to Sheikh, Justice Yawar Ali said that the court has to question the under Section 342.

To this, Sheikh insisted that instead of waiting for Pervez Musharraf to return to the country, it would be sufficient for the defendant to submit a written reply.

Nonetheless, "Pervez Musharraf should surrender in court and we will provide security to him," Sheikh said, assuring a similar level of security enjoyed by Musharraf when he was president.

"A fugitive cannot dictate his terms," he added.

"The government has no ill-intentions," he assured.

The next hearing has been scheduled for July 18, 2017.