–Chief Justice Nisar says ex-dictator must record statement in treason case, promises to allow him leave for medical treatment
ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Thursday directed former president General (r) Pervez Musharraf to record his statement under Section 342 of the criminal procedure code in the treason case against him, assuring the former dictator that he won’t be arrested on his return to Pakistan.
The chief justice was heading a bench hearing the case related to National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), passed by Musharraf in 2007.
As the hearing went underway, Musharraf’s counsel Akhtar Shah submitted a reply regarding the former president’s return to the country and said, “I request the bench to keep my client’s illness confidential.”
Justice Nisar, however, remarked, “There are people present in the country who are suffering from this disease.”
Musharraf’s counsel then urged, “If it is necessary for Musharraf to return then he should be allowed to visit a doctor and his name should not be placed on the Exit Control List (ECL).” To this, the chief justice said, “Let Musharraf return to Pakistan, no one will arrest him but I cannot say anything regarding the removal of his name from ECL.”
“He should record his statement under Section 342 in the treason case,” Justice Nisar said while adding that “Dubai is not the best place for treatment and there are good doctors in Pakistan”.
Musharraf’s counsel then told the court that the former president left the country after permission from the government. The chief justice, however, said, “We are saying it again; we did not grant permission to Musharraf.”
Further, he added, “We cannot put anyone’s life at risk. Musharraf should come to record his statement and whenever he wants to leave for a treatment he can.”
During the proceedings, Justice Nisar asked the petitioner to convince the court, “How do you bring the petition under the purview of Article 184 with the touchstone of Article 4 and 10 of the Constitution of Pakistan”.
Responding to the argument of Syed Feroz Shah that top anti-graft body may be issued directives to proceed in the matter, the chief justice asked him to assist the court that which provision of National Accountability Bureau law should be invoked?
Later, the bench decided not to proceed with the matter till foreign accounts details of former attorney general Malik Qayyum were received. The court directed Qayyum’s counsel Wasim Sajjad to submit the required detail till the next hearing.
“We will decide the issue of maintainability of the current petition during next date of hearing,” the CJP said while adjourning the case till first week of November.
Earlier, a three-member special court heard the case and said that it was important that Musharraf’s statement is recorded in the case.
Musharraf’s legal representative had agreed that recording his statement was important and asked the bench to consider recording it on Skype. However, he added that he would inquire from Musharraf if he agreed to the idea.
The NRO was promulgated in Oct 2007 by the government of then-president Musharraf. Under the ordinance, cases against politicians were removed, paving the way for many to their return to the country.
Nominating Musharraf, Zardari and Qayyum as respondents, petitioner Feroz Shah Gilani had requested the court in April to order recovery of ‘huge amounts of public money’ misappropriated and wasted by them through unlawful means ‘already on record in different judgments of the Supreme Court and high court’.
He had contended that Musharraf subverted the Constitution by declaring emergency followed by the promulgation of the NRO, through which criminal and corruption cases against politicians, including Zardari, were “arbitrarily withdrawn”.