Pervez Musharraf’s legal woes mounted Friday as a Pakistani special court conducting his treason trial issued a bailable arrest warrant for the beleaguered former dictator and ordered his production on February 7.
The three-judge bench, formed by the government to try 70-year-old Musharraf on charges of high treason for imposing emergency in 2007, also rejected his plea to be allowed to go abroad for medical treatment. Musharraf, admitted to a military hospital on January 2, is unlikely to be held in custody because the court said he could get bail by submitting a surety of Rs 25 lakh.
The court’s registrar read out the judgment, which was reserved earlier in the day after defence and prosecution lawyers completed their arguments. The court asked the Islamabad Police chief to implement its order.
Faisal Chaudhry, part of Musharraf’s legal team, said the court had stated it did not have the power to remove the former President’s name from the Interior Ministry’s Exit Control List (ECL) as only a High Court could do this. Persons included in the ECL are barred from travelling abroad. Mohammad Ali Saif, a key member of Musharraf’s legal team, told PTI, “It is a normal warrant issued by courts. Musharraf will not be arrested. The Inspector General of Islamabad Police will serve the summons, saying the court has asked him to appear before it on February 7.
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“He has the option of submitting a surety of Rs 25 lakh,” he said. Chaudhry said Musharraf’s legal team would study the court’s order and challenge it if there is an illegality. A medical report submitted to the special court said Musharraf had refused to undergo angiography in Pakistan as he wanted to be treated abroad. The report further said Musharraf’s health is such that a heart attack could be “life threatening”.
Meanwhile, Raza Bokhari, a spokesman for Musharraf, said by ignoring the medical report of a “distinguished military hospital”, the special court has shown “inhumanity and insensitivity” towards the former president.