Friday, May 3, 2013

Call judge from Afghanistan if you don’t trust us, SC tells Musharraf

May 03,2013,ISLAMABAD:

Heading a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja on Thursday observed that if former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf expected no justice from the apex court, then he better call a judge from Afghanistan.

The judge gave his observation while hearing a set of five identical petitions against the former president, seeking his trial on treason charges. The court also rejected a request of Musharraf's counsel for the constitution of a larger bench to hear the case. Like his fellow counsel, Qamar Afzal insisted that the issue was of paramount importance, requiring a larger bench to decide the case.

The court had already rejected pleas for the constitution of a full bench and instead added a judge to the previously formed two-member bench hearing this case.

Justice Khawaja observed that the bench was expanded on the request of Ibrahim Satti. Qamar Afzal urged the court to reconsider his plea on the ground that the trial should be seen to be conducted in a free and fair manner.

He contended that in an interview in 2007, Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja criticised the steps taken by the then President Musharraf and had also resigned in favour of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, showing that he was prejudiced and was not legally fit to hear the case.

Justice Jawwad asked him to produce anything from his interview reflecting his bias. He further observed that he had resigned because the Lahore High Court had not given a unanimous decision in this regard.

The counsel submitted that Justice Jawwad was also hearing the case of Arsalan Iftikhar and the bench had been constituted by the chief justice. "I believe you are not against Gen (retd) Musharraf but always in favour of chief justice," he submitted.

"Then we should import judges from Afghanistan," Justice Jawwad said, adding that if the objection was just for being a judge of the Supreme Court, then that objection could not be redressed.

Qamar Afzal submitted that no one could be tried just on allegations, particularly under Article 6 of the Constitution.Justice Khawaja observed that the trial was not important simply because Musharraf was involved in it, adding that its focus was Article 6 of the Constitution.

Later, the case was adjourned for May 6, when Qamar Afzal will resume his arguments.Meanwhile, the Balochistan police on Thursday arrested former President General (retd) Pervez Musharraf in the Akbar Bugti murder case on the orders of the ATC-1, Rawalpindi Judge Chaudhry Habib-ur-Rehman.

A team of Balochistan Police, led by Deputy Inspector General (DIG), Sardar Muhammad Ali interrogated Musharraf at his farmhouse in Chak Shahzad.Judge Chaudhry Habib-ur-Rehman accepted a request of the Balochistan Police for the inclusion of Musharraf in the Akbar Bugti murder investigation.

The interrogation lasted for four hours. The Balochistan police may get physical remand of Musharraf on Friday (today).On the other hand, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) will present the challan of Benazir Bhutto assassination case in the ATC today.The court will also start hearing the bail application filed by Musharraf in the Benazir Bhutto murder case. Sources in the FIA told this reporter that Musharraf was included in the main challan.Special Prosecutor FIA Chaudhry Zulfiqar claimed they had strong evidence against Musharraf.

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