ISLAMABAD- Special Court (SC) has issued non-bailable arrest warrants of Former President Pervez Musharraf due to his non appearance before it in high treason case today and ordered him to appear on March 31, 2014.

A Three-member SC led by Justice Faisal Arab and comprising Justice Tahira Safdar and Justice Yawar Ali resumed the hearing of high treason case against Pervez Musharraf.  The court ruled “in the event of non appearance of the accused in the court on March 31, 2014 federal police should arrest him and produce him before it.”

The court also directed Interior Secretary to coordinate with all security agencies in connection with production of the accused and ensure appropriate security arrangements for Pervez Musharraf and he should also remain present in the court on the date of production of the accused. Justice Faisal Arab inquired from defence counsel if the accused is appearing in the court.

Anwar Mansoor said a new application has been moved by Pervez Musharraf whereby he has sought exemption from his attendance in the court because he cannot appear due to security concerns. Giving arguments on the said application, Anwar Mansoor said about 1500 to 1600 persons are deployed on the security of Pervez Musharraf and their screening is must as it is said in threat report issued by Ministry of Interior that Musharraf can be attacked on the pattern of Salman Taseer and there can be sympathizers of proscribed outfits among the security personnel deployed on the security of Musharraf who can target him. Therefore, 6 weeks time should be given for screening of security personnel. The hearing of the case should be adjourned till that time. He further argued that threat report issued by intelligence agencies should be taken seriously.

Prosecution counsel Akram Sheikh while opposing the exemption sought by Musharraf from court said all the arrangements have been finalized for the security of Pervez Musharraf. Over 2500 personnel have been deployed on the security of Former President and three different routes have been enforced on the occasion of his appearance in the court. But the accused does not want to appear.

He contended that court has started his trial from December, 30 2013 and more than three months have been elapsed so far and during this period three months have been wasted on the issue of constitutional status of the court. More than 200 million, hard earned money of the people has been spent on the last 8 hearings. First security issue was made an excuse and then ailment pretext was presented. Now security has been made issue once again, he said. If the accused is given to our custody we are ready to produce him safely in the court, he added. He proposed that trial of the accused can be conducted in any jail including Adiala jail, Attock jail and Hyderabad jail as per his choice and the SC holds such powers. Otherwise the accused will have to appear before SC at every cost.

He presented proposal in the court to indict Musharraf saying that earlier the defence counsels have produced him in the court but the accused is not appearing in the court now to avert indictment.  Therefore, charge be read out before his counsels in his absence. Law is already in place in this regard. Citing to PLD379/1998 he said the court can read out charge before the counsels of accused. The hearing of the case was adjourned till March 20, 2014.