ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Tuesday once again took a lenient view and assured absconding former military ruler General (retd) Pervez Musharraf that he would not be arrested on his arrival to Pakistan.

Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, however, observed that Musharraf claimed to be a commando and courageous so now it was time for him to display his courage by putting his appearance before the court.

The top court has already expressed its determination to extradite Musharraf, who flew to Dubai in March 2016 on the pretext of medical treatment, either by leniency or with iron hands.

In a previous hearing, the court on September 25, had done away the concerns of former military ruler and ordered for provision of foolproof security of Rangers and medical treatment by the doctors of his own choice on his arrival to Pakistan.

The court extended the assurance of not-arresting Musharraf during the hearing of a petition seeking compensation of all the losses and damages suffered by the national exchequer in the backdrop of National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) 2007, including the loss of $60 million in the Swiss Banks representing the illegal funds acquired through corruption and money laundering by Zardari.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Faisal Arab and Justice Ijazul Ahsan resumed the hearing on the petition filed by Syed Feroze Gillani whereby Musharraf and former Attorney General for Pakistan Malik Qayyum are also pleaded as party.

When the hearing commenced, Advocate Akhtar Shah counsel representing Musharraf informed the court that his client honoured the court but unable to return due to security as well as medical treatment issues.

He further contended that there were no charges against his client in the Lal Masjid Operation case, yet he was declared absconder, adding that army was called under Article 245 of the constitution. “I am told by Musharraf to ask the court what crime was committed in Lal Masjid case,” the counsel said.

The bench however remarked that the Lal Masjid case was not concerning to them. As far as security concerns, chief justice reiterated his earlier assurance and remarked that Musharraf will be provided foolproof security as per his satisfaction.

The Chief Justice wondered as to why the counsel for Musharraf was not convinced from his assurance despite it was being given by the apex court of the country.    

He further remarked that the cases against Musharraf would be decided in accordance with the law.

Ultimately Musharraf has to return at any stage of his life, the Chief Justice further observed, adding that it would be better if he appears before the court voluntarily.

Otherwise, this court will be constrained to issue red warrants and he will be extradited in a manner which might not be graceful to him, the bench cautioned.

The CJ further observed that Musharraf used to describe himself as a courageous commando, adding now it was the time for him to display his courage.

Chief Justice observed that the court was going to grant Musharraf protective bail while security and medical treatment as well as de-sealing of his farmhouse on arrival had also been ordered.  

“He may take rest at his farmhouse for two days and may appear before the court afterwards and then the law will take its course,” the CJ remarked.

The hearing of the case has been adjourned till October 11 with directions to Musharraf’s counsel to submit his client’s medical report within a week.