Islamabad - Former Army Chief Gen (Retd) Pervez Musharraf has been declared proclaimed offender in Ghazi Abdul Rashid murder case too.

Additional District and Sessions Judge Islamabad (West) Pervaizul Qadir Memon yesterday gave one month time to the retired general to appear before the court; otherwise in the next step his property would be attached under section 88 of Code of Criminal Procedure.

Pervez Musharraf went abroad on March 8 after the federal government cleared his name from exit control list (ECL).

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan often says that Musharraf’s name was removed from ECL on the orders of the Supreme Court. The apex court had never passed such an order. The top court upholding the Sindh High Court’s verdict had made clear that its order does not preclude the federal government and the Special Court from making decision regarding ECL.

The Special Court, which seized with the high treason case, had already declared Musharraf as proclaimed offender under section 87 of CrPc and cancelled the surety bonds on May 11.

The local court in the presence of media also directed that order regarding terming Musharraf a proclaimed offender should be published in the two newspapers and the advertisement be pasted at his residence and outside the courtroom for the information of the public.

The additional sessions judge in its order, which was announced at 2:45pm, also dismissed Musharraf’s application to withdraw the non-bailable arrest warrants and ordered for the cancelation of the surety bonds of Nazir Ahmed and Jan Muhammad.

On the last hearing, Lal Masjid counsel had argued that Musharraf has ridiculed the judiciary and law as instead of appearing before the court he went abroad. He had asked the court that its non-bailable warrants of Musharraf could not be cancelled either by Chief of Army Staff or Prime Minister.

Earlier, the additional district and sessions judge had reserved the decision in this regard after hearing the arguments of both the sides on the last hearing.

During the hearing, Pervez Musharraf’s lawyer Malik Tahir Mehmood argued on an application challenging non-bailable arrest warrants issued for his client in the case. Mehmood questioned the prosecution’s insistence on appearance of the former military ruler before the court in the case. He said since Musharraf was abroad for medical treatment, and as a pleader he was authorised to represent him in the case.

He contended that the prosecution’s insistence on former president’s appearance in person was uncalled for and his non-appearance is not a problem.

Mehmood continued that the prosecution was not serious in taking the case forward. He also questioned as to why the petitioner, Haroon Rasheed Ghazi, had never appeared before the court. He adopted that Musharraf is unable to attend the court proceedings and the pleader can continue the case.

On the other hand, Tariq Asad Advocate representing the petitioner said the former president was attending party meetings instead of undergoing treatment in Dubai and London. He contended that law should be applied equally to all. The court issued arrest warrants for Musharraf but he left the country. The law and the judiciary are being ridiculed.

Therefore, he said that the court may turn down the plea of accused and declare him a proclaimed offender and it may also confiscate the guarantees of Musharraf’s guarantors.

SHO Aabpara police station was also present in the court and recorded his statement saying the police were unaware of the whereabouts of Musharraf. He said the former president was not present at his Islamabad farmhouse.

After hearing the arguments of all parties, the court had reserved its judgement which was announced on May 21 (yesterday).