Islamabad: A special court on Thursday summoned former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf on May 2 in a case pertaining to charges of high treason against him. Musharraf’s lawyer, Salman Safdar, said that the former President wishes to appear before the court on May 13. However, the three-member bench headed by Justice Tahira Safdar directed Musharraf to appear in court before Ramzan, the Dawn reported.
“If he can come to court on May 13, Musharraf can also appear before the court on May 2. If he doesn’t, the court will pass an appropriate order regarding recording his statement,” Justice Safdar said. The special court had indicted Musharraf for high treason in March 2014. Musharraf left for Dubai in 2016 to “seek medical treatment” and has not returned since. Earlier in March, he was admitted to a hospital in Dubai after suffering a reaction from a rare disease for which he is already under treatment. His lawyer was also handed a questionnaire that the former President is expected to answer under Section 342 of the Code of Criminal Procedures (CrPC).
Earlier in the hearing, Salman Safdar had submitted an application in court asking for the case to be quashed on the basis of CrPC’s Section 265 (language of record and judgment). He argued that Musharraf’s case should be treated like any other case. “You cannot record a statement under Section 342 in Musharraf’s absence. If the suspect is to be punished, his presence in court is necessary.” To this, Justice Safdar said: “First, tell us whether your arguments regarding Musharraf’s appearance in court have been completed.”
She also asked the prosecution lawyer what options the court had if a suspect does not appear in court in such a case. Again touching upon Musharraf’s health issues, the lawyer said the former President is suffering from heart issues and is also undergoing chemo therapy, which requires him to remain at the hospital for eight hours every day. He also said that Musharraf had recently taken a fall and hurt his back.