- Court dismisses Musharraf’s appeals, says former dictator should be brought to court if he fails to appear at next hearing
- Justice Arab joins hearing, dispels speculations regarding his recuse, says he ‘merely walked out of proceedings’
The drama-filled special court’s hearing on former president Pervez Musharraf’s treason trial has dismissed Musharraf’s appeals and has reiterated that former dictator be brought to court if he fails to appear in court on March 31.
As the day began, Justice Faisal Arab of the Sindh High Court, who had recused himself from hearing the case, issued statement that he merely walked out of the hearing as opposed to dissociating himself from the case altogether.
Earlier, Thursday suffered watching Justice Arab storm out of the court, unexpectedly ending the day’s proceedings, weaving through the explosion of rumours that Musharraf will be let off the hook.
The media reported that Justice Arab had excused himself from the case – leading to speculation that the matter had hit a major obstacle at critical time.
The media also reported Justice Arab saying that if the defence did not think the judges to be impartial, the country had no shortage of jurists who could be asked to do the job.
However to everyone’s surprise, an order issued at 3pm, which contained the signature of Justice Arab, dismissed all applications by Musharraf’s lawyers and stated that Musharraf should be brought to court if he fails to present himself for the next hearing on March 31.
Earlier during the hearing, Musharraf’s counsel Mansoor had argued over court’s earlier order of issuing of a non-bailable arrest warrant against his client. He told the judges that inclusion of the warrant in the court’s order gave the impression that the former military strongman was not appearing before the court on purpose, clarifying that it was not the case.
Musharraf’s lawyers accused Arab’s three-member bench of bias multiple times while also interrupted case’s chief prosecutor Akram Sheikh’s arguments, saying that the defence team had objections against his appointment as prosecutor while the court had reserved its order over the matter.
Defence counsel Mansoor said that it was common knowledge in the corridors of the National Assembly and the Senate that Sheikh was ‘tasked with the objective of awarding punishment’ to Musharraf.
Justice Arab said that submission of an application against the prosecutor’s appointment did not mean he should be stopped from arguing in court. The judge added that it was the court’s job to make a decision on the matter and if the application was accepted only then could Sheikh be stopped from performing his duties as chief prosecutor.
In the meanwhile, Musharraf’s advocate Ahmed Raza Kasuri said “[Musharraf’s lawyers] very politely said that we are not comfortable with these proceedings.”
“Reacting emotionally, Justice Arab said that he cannot carry on with these proceedings if the defence lawyers are not happy,” Kasuri told media in Islamabad.