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Musharraf to be indicted Friday in treason case

world Updated: Mar 13, 2014 14:17 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
Imtiaz Ahmad
Hindustan Times
Pervez Musharraf

A special court set trying former Pakistan president General Pervez Musharraf said on Thursday it will indict him on Friday "come what may" despite the non-appearance of defence lawyers.

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.

Musharraf has pleaded with the court that he is facing threats from the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan as well as from the al Qaeda and cannot attend the proceedings of the court.

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 a military hospital, the 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 not only would he client be unable to attend but as he (Mansoor) suffered from food poisoning and there was no chance that he would recover and be able to present his arguments on Friday.

Justice Arab replied while the court cannot force Mansoor to present his arguments, but it would not stop proceedings for this reason.

He also ordered Mansoor to make sure his client was present in the court on Friday. Musharraf's presence is needed for him to be indicted, say legal experts.

At the same time, bickering continued between the lawyers of the former president, the prosecution and the judges hearing the case.

Prosecutor Akram Shaikh called Musharraf's lawyers "cowards and liars" for asking the court to exempt their client, Musharraf, from a personal appearance.

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 Khan'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."