CJP grills Musharraf's lawyer on 'brave commando's' overdue return to Pakistan

Published October 2, 2018
Former president Pervez Musharraf. — Photo/File
Former president Pervez Musharraf. — Photo/File

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Tuesday grilled Pervez Musharraf's counsel over the former president's failure to come back to the country and face ongoing cases against him, warning that Musharraf's return may not be 'graceful'.

Musharraf's lawyer told the three-judge bench today that his client "respects the court" but was unable to return due to his medical condition and reservations over the provision of security.

Last week, during a press conference, All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) leader Muhammad Amjad had said that the former president was "growing weaker rapidly" due to an unspecified illness and, therefore, could not return to Pakistan.

The former military ruler left for Dubai in March 2016 for medical treatment and has not returned since.

The lawyer argued that there were no charges against Musharraf in the Lal Masjid operation case and demanded to know what the case against his client was.

He may not face any charges in the Lal Masjid case, but he is facing a treason case for which he must appear in court, replied Justice Nisar.

If Musharraf returns voluntarily, he may be able to do so respectably otherwise he may be compelled to return under circumstances which are not "graceful", the CJP cautioned.

"The commando who used to describe himself as a 'courageous commando' should today display that courage," the top judge said.

"Why is the courageous commando not returning?" he asked.

"I told you before that if he returns, he will be provided security," the CJP asserted, wondering why the "courageous commando" continues being afraid to return to the country despite assurances of "constant security". He also advised that the former military dictator should get medical treatment in Pakistan.

"I am giving you this assurance. It is the assurance of the highest court in the country," Justice Nisar said and added that: "As long as [Musharraf] is alive, it is his duty to appear before the court."

The CJP further said that it was not acceptable for a citizen to leave the country and not return while a case against them is underway in courts.

He also promised that the former military ruler would not be arrested upon his return, and that whatever the outcome of the cases, it would be strictly in line with the law.

The court ordered Musharraf's counsel to submit his medical report within a week and adjourned the hearing until Oct 11.

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