ISLAMABAD: Former military dictator Pervez Musharraf on Monday challenged the decision of the special court that a commission will record his statement from Dubai in the high treason case.
Musharraf is facing high treason trial before a special court for imposing emergency in the country on Nov 3, 2007. The court formed a commission on October 15, to record the former army chief’s statement under section-342 of the code of criminal procedure (CrPc) who is currently residing in Dubai. The next date of hearing before the Special Court is fixed for November 14, 2018, in the matter.
Two days before the next hearing of the case, Barrister Salman Safdar, counsel for Musharraf, challenged the formation of commission before the Islamabad High Court, terming the recording of an accused’s statement from abroad ‘flagrant violation’ of the settled procedure. Safdar also expressed it as an unprecedented move.
“Establishing a commission to record the statement of an accused under Section 342 CrPc is an unprecedented step, never undertaken in the legal history of Pakistan,” Musharraf submitted through his lawyer.
Barrister Safdar made a point that commissions have been set up in the legal history to record statements of witnesses residing abroad but a commission has never been set up to record a statement of the accused.
Substantiating his plea, Musharraf alleged that the special court failed to hear Barrister Safdar over the legality of forming a commission, saying it is clear that the petitioner will not be given the opportunity to raise objection against the formation of the commission in the current matter.
Referring to the formation of the commission as a violation of the petitioner’s right, Musharraf said that his right to the fair trial is protected under article 10-A of the constitution.
The petitioner’s counsel said, “The very purpose of the section-342 of CrPC is that the court would have to examine the accused because it is not just the content of an accused response that the court must consider forming its opinion, but also to form, deliver, and demeanor of the accused himself”.
Barrister Safdar was of the view that a forensic dialogue cannot be said to have taken place unless the court analyses the expressions, the tone of voice, pitch, inflections, and attitude of an accused whilst recording his statement.
He further said, “It is necessary for the process under section-342 CrPC to be conducted in the physical presence of the accused.”