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ATC issues non-bailable arrest warrants of Musharraf

ATC issues non-bailable arrest warrants of Musharraf

ISLAMABAD: An anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Friday issued non-bailable warrants for the arrest of former president retired Gen Pervez Musharraf in the judges’ detention case.

The ATC judge, Sohail Ikram, issued the arrest warrants after observing that Gen Musharraf left the country without obtaining a prior permission from the court.

When the court resumed the hearing of the judges’ detention case, Musharraf’s counsel Akhtar Shah submitted a power of attorney.

However, the judge asked him about the whereabouts of his client.

The counsel informed the court that Musharraf had gone abroad for medical treatment with the permission of the government.

But the public prosecutor, Amir Nadeem Tabish, contended that Gen Musharraf was also required to get permission from the ATC before leaving the country.

He recalled that the court in September last year had issued non-bailable warrants for the arrest of Gen Musharraf but later suspended them after the former military ruler filed an application along with his medical reports.

He said the Supreme Court never allowed Musharraf to go abroad but had left it to the federal government to decide on the removal of his name from the exit control list (ECL).

Observing that Musharraf did not get prior permission from the court before leaving the country, the court issued the non-bailable warrants and adjourned the case to April 22.

Legal proceedings were initiated against the former military dictator for detaining over 60 judges, including then chief justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, after the proclamation of an emergency in the country in November 2007.

Musharraf is facing terrorism charges in the case, which was based on the FIR registered against him on Aug 11, 2009, by the Secretariat police for detaining the judges.

This was the same case in which the Islamabad High Court (IHC) had ordered the arrest of the former military ruler days after his return to the country from abroad in April 2013.

In June 2013, the court indicted Musharraf in the judges’ detention case. According to the charge sheet, the military ruler had imposed a state of emergency and detained the judges. As many as 15 lawyers have already recorded their statements as witnesses against Musharraf.

On June 11, 2013, the IHC granted pre-arrest bail to the former president.

Since the indictment, 17 out of the total 46 witnesses have recorded their testimonies in the case.

On June 5 last year, two witnesses deposed before the court that they did not see any judge leaving their residences during the proclamation of the emergency on Nov 3, 2007.

Published in Dawn, April 9th, 2016

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