News / Asia

Court in Pakistan Gives Musharraf a Deadline to Appear

FILE - A supporter holds a picture of former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, during a protest with others at the Special Court where Musharraf will attend his trial in Islamabad, Feb. 18, 2014.
FILE - A supporter holds a picture of former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, during a protest with others at the Special Court where Musharraf will attend his trial in Islamabad, Feb. 18, 2014.
Ayaz Gul
A special court established to prosecute treason charges against Pakistan’s former military ruler and president, Pervez Musharraf, has ordered police to arrest him if he fails to appear before the judges on March 31, for a formal reading of the indictment.

The high-profile legal proceedings against Pervez Musharraf began more than 10 weeks ago, but he has only appeared once in court, citing security and health reasons for his absence.  Pakistani law requires him to be present in court to hear the charges against him.

Musharraf has been under treatment in a military hospital near Islamabad since January, although critics contend he has been engaging in delaying tactics to obstruct the court.

In a show of frustration, the three-member panel of judges ordered police Friday to arrest the former military leader if he fails to appear on March 31, and directed the government to ensure Musharraf’s personal safety when he travels to the court from the hospital. 

The treason charges against Musharraf stem from 2007, when he declared a state of emergency in Pakistan, suspended the constitution and fired top judges to quash opposition.

A senior defense attorney, Ahmad Raza Kasuri, questioned the arrest warrant, telling reporters the special court was not authorized to carry out such action until it ruled on a petition challenging the formation of the judicial panel.  

“It is not in accordance with the law of the land. Therefore, unless we cross that bridge and court comes to the conclusion that the complaint has been lawfully lodged, we cannot proceed. And in that complaint we have said in a categorical term that why General Musharraf alone [should be charged]. Why not those hundreds of people who rendered assistance who were the collaborator and abettor in the so-called crime,” he said.

Subversion of the Pakistani constitution is considered high treason under the law of the land, which says charges should be brought against individuals or institutions that support such subversive action.

Musharraf seized power in a bloodless coup in 1999, when he was the leader of the nation's military, and subsequently became president. He stepped down under pressure in 2008, after his political allies were defeated in national elections that year.  He could face life in prison or receive death penalty if found guilty of treason, though critics contend Pakistan's powerful military will allow its former chief to be tried and sentenced.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More