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HindustanTimes Sun,31 Aug 2014

World

Will indict Musharraf, come what may: Pak court
Imtiaz Ahmad , Hindustan Times
Islamabad, March 14, 2014
First Published: 01:45 IST(14/3/2014)
Last Updated: 23:40 IST(14/3/2014)

Miffed with the non-appearance of Pervez Musharraf's lawyers for the treason trial on Thursday, the special court said it would indict the former Pakistan president "come what may" on Friday.

The three-member bench, led by justice Faisal Arab, directed Musharraf to appear in person before the special court to hear the charges being read out against him on Friday.

The former president faces treason charges under Article 6 for suspending, subverting and abrogating the constitution, imposing an emergency in the country in November 2007 and detaining judges of the superior courts.

President Musharraf has pleaded with the court that he is facing threats from the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and al Qaeda and therefore can't appear before it.

Musharraf had earlier pleaded absence on health grounds, based on which the army had moved the former president from his farm house on the outskirts of Islamabad to Armed Forces Institute of Health in the twin city of Rawalpindi.  During Thursday's hearing, Musharraf's lawyer Anwar Mansoor told the special court that the latter was suffering from food poisoning and therefore he would also not be able to attend the hearing on Friday.

Justice Arab said though the court can't force Mansoor to present his arguments, it could no longer afford to delay the proceedings. He also ordered Mansoor to make sure his client was present in the court on Friday. Musharraf's presence is necessary for him to be indicted say legal experts.

Prosecutor Akram Shaikh called Musharraf's lawyers "cowards and liars" for asking the court to exempt their client, from appearing in person.

At the same time, for the second day this week, one member of Musharraf's legal team Rana Ijaz Ahmed Khan was not allowed to enter the courtroom. The court had asked security officials to cancel Ijaz's entry pass for his contemptuous behaviour and derogatory remarks about special court judges during proceedings on March 11 when he had called the court "killers for hire."

Musharraf's security plan for tomorrow's hearing has been finalised, media reports said. Only cleared personnel will be deployed as part of Musharraf's personal security detail. All individuals will have to go through a security check before entering the courtroom. Mobile phones, tablets and laptops will not be permitted inside the court premises.


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