Musharraf faces strict Court proceedings PDF Print E-mail
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altJehlum Post News Network/Islamabad/ April 9th, 2015/ Nearly a year after retired General Pervez Musharraf appeared before a special court for high treason on Wednesday , he has now been asked to appear before a trial court in the murder case of Lal Masjid cleric Abdul Rashid Ghazi. The last time he appeared in the special court, headed by Justice Faisal Arab of the Sindh High Court (SHC), was on March 31 when he was indicted for high treason. The treason trial is still pending before the same court. However, the former military ruler was also booked for the murder of the Lal Masjid cleric in September 2013. After initial investigations, police declared him innocent and additional district and sessions judge (ADSJ) Wajid Ali granted him post-arrest bail in November 2014. Last month, the court rejected an application for exemption from personal appearance and directed him to attend the trial proceedings. But while the former dictator is told to attend court proceedings regularly, political leaders have been exempted time and again from personally appearing in corruption references, pending before the accountability courts of Islamabad.Another former president, Asif Ali Zardari, obtained an exemption from appearing in person for corruption references and has not appeared before the court since January last year. Mr Zardari faced five corruption references namely, the Cotecna, Société Générale de Surveillance (SGS), ARY Gold, Ursus Tractors and Polo Ground cases. So far, Mr Zardari has been acquitted in the ARY Gold, Ursus Tractors and Polo Ground references and just two references; the SGS and Cotecna cases, remain to be decided. Former prime ministers Yousaf Raza Gillani and Raja Pervez Ashraf were also exempted from appearing in person in connection with allegations of corruption in the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra), in March 2014.  Amjad Iqbal Qureshi, counsel for the two former premiers and former president Zardari, told Dawn that under Section 540-A of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), the trial judge could exempt any accused from attending day-to-day proceedings. He said that most political leaders sought exemptions due to security concerns. He was of the opinion that in view of the serious threats to his life, Gen Musharraf may also be granted exemption from personal appearance by the trial judge.

Raja Inam Ameen Minhas, former general secretary of Islamabad High Court Bar Association, said that the former military chief’s presence on the premises of the district courts could endanger the lives of litigants, lawyers, court officials and even judges. Gen Musharraf’s counsel, advocate Akhtar Shah, said that trial courts had granted exemptions to a number of accused individuals, including certain ‘high profile’ personalities on the grounds that there are threats to their lives. “Gen Musharraf is facing threats from over three dozen terrorist groups,” he said, adding that the former military ruler’s legal team had requested the court to grant a similar exemption to Gen Musharraf, but their plea was rejected. Dawn

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