RAWALPINDI - Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) while taking strict notice of the absence of former President General (Retd) Pervez Musharraf, accused of Benazir Bhutto’s murder, directed Rawalpindi police on Tuesday to produce the accused on July 30; otherwise, the court would stop the trial of the case.

ATC Special Judge, Chaudhry Habib-ur-Rehman, ordered this while hearing Benazir Bhutto murder case. He also observed that no more delay could be made in the hearing of the high profile case as the court wanted to dispose of the case as soon as possible.

It is pertinent to mention here that Musharraf had not appeared before the court on the last date of hearing too because of security threats, while the court clearly directed the police to present him before the court.

Acting City Police Officer/SSP (Operations) Israr Ahmed Abbasi informed the court that the former president had been facing a serious life threat that was why he was not presented before the court. On this, the judge remarked, “This is not an authentic argument. Without the accused, the hearing of case cannot be continued. Present him (Musharraf) on the next date of hearing or else I will stop hearing the case.” Setting aside the plea, filed by the legal counsel of Musharraf, the court granted one-day exemption to the accused in the case.

Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Special Public Prosecutor, Chaudhry Azhar Ali, in his arguments told the court that non-appearance of the accused was causing utmost delay in the hearing of the case.

The ATC Judge also asked Ch Azhar to come Islamabad Airport via plane from Lahore and here police would provide him security. However, the prosecutor replied that he would feel more comport in traveling via car.

Meanwhile, the court issued notice to FIA on an application filed by Musharraf’s lawyer Ilyas Siddiqui to defreeze his (Mush) assets. Later, the court postponed the hearing till July 30, 2013.

In a separate hearing, ATC No 1 dismissed the bail plea of Aitzaz Shah, one of five accused arrested in connection with BB murder case.

The court, earlier, reserved the verdict after completion of arguments of both parties — the prosecution and defence. Naseer Tanwali Advocate, representing Aitzaz Shah, argued before the court as the court already granted the bails to the three main accused — Musharraf, former CPO Syed Saud Aziz and former SP Rawal Town Khurram Shehzad — despite serious allegations they were facing, therefore, the court may also grant bail to his client. He added that the accused was juvenile at the time of his arrest.

The FIA prosecutor while countering the arguments said that the court already rejected twice the bail pleas of the accused. “The accused is a very dangerous man. The court should reject his bail,” the prosecutor asserted.