ISLAMABAD  - The prosecution demanded to issue red warrants or forfeit surety to procure attendance of General (Retd) Pervez Musharraf before the Special Court to record his statement under section 342 of the CrPC in high treason case. “As an alternative, the Musharraf’s statement under section 342 be recorded through videolink/Skype in the interest of justice,” said a statement filed by Chief Prosecutor Akram Sheikh yesterday on the direction of Special Court.

A three-judge bench of Special Court headed by Chief Justice of Peshawar High Court Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel on March 31 had directed all the parties, including secretary of interior, defence counsel and general Rashid Qureshi, who has given surety worth Rs2.5 million on behalf of Musharraf, to file statements explaining that despite having knowledge of summoning Musharraf why permission was granted to him for leaving the country. Akram Sheikh stated that on December 25, 2015 he had written to the then secretary Ministry of Interior to place Musharraf’s name on the ECL. He mentioned that FIA investigation team in the report submitted on November 16, 2013 said: “The Enquiry Team apprehended that due to lack of evidence in support of his defense General Pervaiz Musharraf may attempt to leave the country. Hence, the Enquiry Team promptly moved the Ministry of Interior to place his name on the ECL as being subject of investigation of High Treason case.”

Akram Sheikh told that not only the prosecution team kept on informing the federal government, complainant in the case, on regular basis but an official of the Ministry of Interior has been present on all dates, including March 8, 2016 when the Special Court had summoned Musharraf for recording his statement under section 342 of CrPc. He said this Court order was also disseminated widely through press. Therefore, he said there was no room for condoning absence of the accused (Musharraf).

The prosecutor informed that the accused had given an undertaking to the Special Court for appearing as and when directed and in light of the notice the onus to appear before the court is on Musharraf. He said only the accused can explain why he failed to obey the court order and it was for him to file an application seeking one-time exemption from his attendance on March 31.

He further stated that the accused should have filed an application before this court seeking permission to go abroad as he had already been summoned by this court on March 31.

The prosecutor said the Special Court where the high treason trial is pending is competent to regulate the custody of the accused. He informed that Musharraf is on bail in other four criminal cases, which are also pending in the respective courts. He said that the Special Court had granted the exemption to the accused from appearing till otherwise so directed. It also said that in the meantime the case shall proceed and the accused shall be represented through his counsel. He said after the removal of his name from the ECL by the federation it was incumbent upon the accused to seek the Special Court permission to leave the country.