Pakistan court mulls options for recording Musharraf's statement in treason case

The previous nawaz Sharif-led government had filed the treason case against the former army chief over the imposition of extra-constitutional emergency in November 2007.

Published: 19th March 2019 07:53 PM  |   Last Updated: 19th March 2019 07:53 PM   |  A+A-

Pervez Musharraf

Former Pakistan President Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf (File | AP)

By PTI

ISLAMABAD: A special court hearing the treason case against Pervez Musharraf on Tuesday ordered the preparation of a questionnaire for the former military ruler and sought assistance to determine whether or not he can record his statement via video link.

The previous Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government had filed the treason case against the ex-army chief general (retd) Musharraf in 2013 over the imposition of extra-constitutional emergency in November 2007.

The trial has not seen much progress since Musharraf, 75, left went to Dubai in March 2016 after his name was removed from the Exit Control List. He has not returned since, and is said to be suffering from Amyloidosis, a rare condition for which he has been receiving medical care.

On Saturday night, he was shifted to a hospital in Dubai after suffering a reaction from the condition. The three-judge bench headed by Justice Tahira Safdar accepted an affidavit submitted by Musharraf's lawyer Tuesday and ordered the preparation of a questionnaire for the former president to respond to, Dawn newspaper reported.

However, Musharraf's lawyer maintained that the former president's presence in court was essential and that his statement could not be recorded via video link, the report said. The prosecution lawyer said that Musharraf's not recording his statement in the case should not hinder it, and that the trial should move forward.

The bench asked that assistance be provided to ascertain whether the former president could record his statement via video link within the parameters of the law. In 2018, the special court resumed proceedings in the treason case and ordered the blocking of Musharraf's identity card and passport.

However, ex-chief justice Saqib Nisar while hearing a case regarding Musharraf's disqualification in the run-up to the 2018 elections had allowed him to return and restored his travel documents. The former dictator, however, did not return.

While delivering his arguments, Musharraf's lawyer said his client is ill and that the statements of eight witnesses had been recorded in his absence. The court, however, commented that the statements had been recorded in his presence, the report said. The hearing was adjourned till March 28. A conviction for high treason carries the death penalty or life imprisonment.

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