Lawyers defending former president General (retired) Pervez Musharraf on Wednesday pointed to death threats they had received and raised concerns over the security of the special court located in the premises of the National Library after the attack on the district courts.
Defence lawyer Anwar Mansoor was threatened at gunpoint on his way to the Karachi airport and robbed of his watch and cell phone. Senior lawyer Ahmad Raza Kasuri read from a letter delivered to the Supreme Court Bar Association dated February 11 that the three defence lawyers Sharifuddin Pirzada, Kasuri and Anwar Mansoor must not defend Gen Musharraf or else they would be beheaded and their children would be ruined. The letter written in Urdu was from the people North and South Waziristan agency. It said Gen Musharraf was a Jew or a Christian, and doesn't deserve to be called a Muslim since he had sold them to America. It also questioned his return to Pakistan and said he had come back for the sake of power. He should be hanged, the letter said. Another defence lawyer Raja Ijaz said that he had credible information that the court would be attacked and the judges and the defence and prosecution would be targeted.
Faisal Hussain, defence lawyer said that an application was filed in the special court on Tuesday to relocate the court to more secure premises. The application said that this government was incapable of providing proper security after the bomb and gun attack on the district court on Monday. The National Library was an open place and vulnerable to attack and it was becoming difficult for the defence team to continue. The matter will be heard on March 11 when Gen Musharraf is summoned for indictment.
Justice Faisal Arab said the trial could not be stopped because of threats and he had discussions with the police and administration and there were enough security arrangements in place. Mr. Hussain said the government had not shown an iota of interest in the security of the court and it was difficult to proceed in this atmosphere of threats and insecurity. He said meetings were being held with the chief commissioner of Islamabad and the court to consider safer venues for the case.
The case will be heard on March 7 when the court will rule on remaining applications relating to the bias of judges, the constitution of the court and the objections to the special public prosecutor.