Free Press Journal

Pakistan’s Musharraf to skip court hearing over security issue


Islamabad: Former Pakistani military dictator Pervez Musharraf will not appear before a special court hearing the high treason trial against him tomorrow due to security concerns, his lawyers said today.

The announcement came as a letter warning against possible attack on the 70-year-old former president was leaked to the media.

The letter from the Federal Interior Ministry to police said necessary security arrangements have to be made as the Taliban or the al-Qaeda might attack him as he travels to the court tomorrow.

“How can he appear before the court when the court itself is not safe,” Ahmad Raza Kasuri, one of Musharraf’s lawyer, told PTI.     Citing the leaked letter, he said Musharraf’s life was under serious threat.

“The Ministry of Interior is the complainant in the case. This time we are not saying he is under threat. The complainant is saying so. The letter clearly says that he may be attacked on his way from the AFIC to the Court,” Kasuri said.

The high-treason case relates to the imposition of emergency rule in 2007 by Musharraf. This is the first time in Pakistan’s history that a former military chief is facing trial for treason.

Musharraf’s defence team during the last hearing expressed fear that the special court was no safe enough.

Kasuri had said on March 5 that the court, which has been set up at the National Library here, should move to a safer location after the terror attack on a court in Islamabad killed 11 people. An application had been filed in this regard by the defence lawyers.

However, prosecutor Akram Sheikh Advocate argued the courts work even during war.

Justice Faisal Arab said the file of the case could not be closed and dumped in the record room in view of any threat.

“We are conscious of our responsibility, if the case comes before the court, it has to be proceeded, we cannot leave our job for any threat of life,” he said.

On March 3, two suicide bombers had attacked the district court in Islamabad’s sector F-8 killing 11 people, including an additional sessions judge.