ISLAMABAD: The special court hearing treason charges against former president retired Gen Pervez Musharraf was informed on Wednesday that Interpol had refused to issue red warrants for his repatriation from the United Arab Emirates where he has been living since 2016.

Interior Secretary Yousuf Naeem Khokhar told the court comprising Lahore High Court Chief Justice Yawar Ali and Justice Nazar Akbar that Interpol had explained to Islamabad that the high treason case being a political one in nature did not encompass the charter of the international law enforcement organisation.

The special court, however, asked the secretary to furnish copies of the correspondence between Islamabad and Interpol before postponing the proceedings till Sept 10.

The previous government had in April requested the special court to proceed and conclude the treason trial without waiting for the former military ruler’s personal appearance.

But before adjourning the treason case, the court also sought assistance from the parties, including the federal government, asking whether the court could record Mr Musharraf’s statement under Section 342 of criminal procedure code through video facility or Skype — a social media application — when the accused was not appearing before the court, and whether it could proceed in the absence of any statement of the accused under Section 342.

At the outset of the proceedings, the special court accepted an application of senior counsel Akram Sheikh, who was earlier prosecuting Mr Musharraf as head of the prosecution team. Mr Sheikh had sought the court’s permission to withdrawn himself as prosecutor, saying that since the present case involved a fundamental civil-military relationship, the new federal government should have an opportunity to decide how it would like to handle the matter.

The counsel said he had submitted his resignation to the caretaker government on July 30, but did not receive any response.

After the court hearing, the interior secretary told reporters that his ministry would consult the law ministry for the appointment of a new prosecutor. Asked if the new government would withdraw the treason complaint from the special court, he said the complaint had been filed by the federal government and the law would take its own course.

Published in Dawn, August 30th, 2018

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