–Former dictator’s counsel had accused PHC CJ of being biased towards his client, saying the judge had been associated with lawyers’ movement
ISLAMABAD: The bench conducting the high-treason trial against former president General (r) Pervez Musharraf was abolished on Thursday as Justice Yahya Afridi, who headed the bench, recused himself the case.
The three-member bench of the special court, headed by Peshawar High Court (PHC) Chief Justice Yahya Afridi and comprising Lahore High Court Chief Justice Yawar Ali and Justice Tahira Safdar of the Balochistan High Court, was hearing the case.
Musharraf’s counsel had earlier raised objections over Justice Yahya heading the bench, arguing that the judge was part of the lawyers’ movement.
The bench deliberated on the matter in the chamber after which Justice Afridi recused himself.
However, in his order, he observed that the counsel’s objections are factually incorrect. He explained that he was never former chief justice Chaudhry’s counsel but was a co-petitioner in the case against Musharraf’s Nov 3, 2007, emergency.
After Justice Yahya’s recusal, a new bench will be reconstituted by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar.
Despite security reassurances from the interior minister, Pervez Musharraf has declined to come back to the country.
The judiciary was expected to issue some sort of an order regarding his return.
Prosecutor Akram Shiekh is set to argue against the accused.
The court had ordered the federal government on March 16 to take all necessary steps to ensure that the former president was brought back to the country from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The court had also said in its order that the former military ruler’s arrest should be made possible by seeking help from Interpol. It had also ordered the interior minister to cancel the national identity card and passport of Musharraf.
The case which was started in 2013 revolves around the imposition of emergency in Pakistan by the former military ruler in November 2007 by showing utter disregard for the constitution.