Jan 1, 2014, 3:33 PM
News Code: 80976244
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Musharraf could face arrest if he fails to appear in court: judge

Islamabad, Jan 01, IRNA -- A special court in Pakistan, hearing high treason case against former military President Pervez Musharraf, on Wednesday warned that it could issue his arrest warrant if he could not appear on Thursday.

Musharraf failed on Wednesday for second time in ten days to appear before the three-member bench and the court adjourned the proceedings for a day.

The government had initiated treason charges against the former military president for suspending, subverting and abrogating the Constitution, imposing an emergency in the country in November 2007 and detaining judges of the superior courts. Legal experts say the charges carry death penalty or life imprisonment.

The court had summoned Musahrraf to formally frame charges of high treason against him however his defence lawyers told the court that the former President could not appear because of threats to his life.

The Islamabad Police Chief told the court that tight security arrangements have been made for the former president and that nearly 1000 security personnel have been deployed on the route from Musharraf’s house to the court.

He also said a bullet-proof vehicle had been provided for Musharraf. He however said the Islamabad police have no bomb-proof vehicle.

The police earlier claimed arrest of two suspects from a roadside restaurant on Musharrf’s route early Wednesday. They had also said they had recovered explosives near Musharraf’s house and on the route to court over the past few days.

Justice Faisal Arab, who heads the special court, ordered that the former President must be produced on Thursday as the court has already issued summon for his production. He said the court does not want to issue arrest warrant for Musharraf as he is the president and the judges do not want his insult.

The special prosecutor, Akram Sheikh, also insisted that the accused should be produced and the Musharraf’s lawyers must specify what kind of security they want for their client.

As the court’s started proceedings, Mushrraf’s lawyers raised objections at the formation and powers of the special court and argued that the Prime Minister cannot nominate judges for a court.

The court remarked that it will give verdict about its composition and jurisdiction on Thursday.

The defence lawyers also requested the court to delay the hearing for five weeks. However their requested was turned down.

They had earlier tried to stop the trial on the plea that the special court has no power to try a former army chief and that a military court can try him under the army act.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had announced in June to initiate the high treason case against the former military president for suspension of the constitution, the decision had evoked mixed reaction as critics were of the view that Pakistan faces several serious challenges and cannot afford such trial.

Musharraf had taken over in a bloodless coup when he had dismissed the government of Nawaz Sharif in 1999.

The 70-year-old former army chief, currently lives in his farmhouse in Islamabad after getting bails in three high profile cases including the 2007 assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

Musharraf, who had resigned in 2008 and had gone into exile, returned to Pakistan in March this year to take part in parliamentary elections. However, a court disqualified him from standing in the May elections.