South Asia

Bailable warrant issued against Musharraf

A special court trying former president General(retd) Pervez Musharraf on Friday refused to exempt him from appearance and issued a bailable warrant against him, subject to executing a bond of Rs 25 lakh.

The court summoned Musharraf on February 7 and said the medical report of January 24 by a board of senior doctors at the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology(AFIC) did not offer a reasonable excuse to justify his failure to appear before the court.

The court has no alternative but to issue a bailable warrant, and the warrant shall be served by the inspector general of police, Islamabad.

The court said Musharraf has filed an application seeking exemption from appearance and to travel abroad for treatment at a medical facility of his choice in the USA. This plea was not maintainable before this court because the jurisdiction of the special court is confined within the limits prescribed under the High Treason(Punishment) act 1973 and the Criminal law amendment act, the order said.

Though the special court has three judges of the high court, it does not possess powers of judicial review or administrative action available to the high court. The court said Musharraf's name was on the Exit Control List and the Sindh high court in an order of December 23, 2013 had declined to take his name off the list.

The order said that on the grounds of security concerns and illness it had exempted Musharraf in the past. However, the court had asked a medical board comprising AFIC to answer three questions relating to Musharraf's health. Though the report didn't provide question wise answers, the court quoted the report which indicated the state of his health.

Musharraf was admitted to AFIC on January 2 when he developed a heart problem en route the court. The court said it examined the medical report at face value and in its considered opinion, it did not suggest that the accused in his present state of health needs to remain confined and is not allowed movement of any nature that prevents him from appearing in court.

In the absence of any such restriction imposed by the doctors, there is no reasonable excuse to justify the failure of the accused to appear in the court. The doctors have not found it appropriate to place any restrictions on the accused and no such advice was given, the order said.

Musharraf is in hospital for a month now and so far he has not undergone coronary angiography and AFIC claims it has state of the art facilities with highly qualified specialists and is also ISO certified. It performs 1600 surgeries a year of which 80 per cent are open heart surgeries, the order said adding that the court did not find anything inappropriate in the medical report and therefore did not address the objections raised by the prosecution.

Lawyers for Musharraf, Mohammed Ali Saif and Faisal Hussain told reporters that the court had found the medical report appropriate. The court has rejected his exemption application and has granted him bail. However he has to appear on February 7.

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Printable version | Dec 2, 2020 2:33:08 AM |

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