Rawalpindi - An anti-terrorism court (ATC) yesterday dismissed the plea of former President General (Retd) Pervez Musharraf wherein he had challenged the use of ‘video link‘ to record American journalist and lobbyist Mark Siegel’s statement in Benazir Bhutto assassination case.

The court in its verdict announced that recording of Siegel’s statement via video link was justified.

Musharraf had filed the plea through his counsel Barrister Farogh Naseem.

Meanwhile, a defence lawyer filed a petition to seek permission for cross-examining the prosecution witnesses. The court adjourned the hearing till December 2.

Earlier, presenting his arguments Farogh Naseem told the court that legal requirements were not fulfilled while recording statement of the key prosecution witness. He argued that recording of the statement via video link should be declared illegal. He requested the court to summon Siegel to Pakistan for this purpose.

After conclusion of his arguments, the ACT rejected the plea of the former military dictator.

Special public prosecutor of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Chaudhry Azhar Ali while talking to media persons said that it was second application filed by Musharraf against testimony of Mark Siegel. He added that the court had earlier rejected a similar application in June 2015.

The FIA prosecutor said that an amendment in the law made in 2014 empowered the trial court to record testimonies of witnesses in criminal cases through video links.

Azhar further said that he had contended in the court that the petition against Siegel’s testimony was not maintainable under the law. He said that under the new amendment, Siegel’s testimony against Musharraf was admissible.

In his petition, Musharraf had raised objections on the admissibility of Siegel’s testimony that was recorded on October 1, 2015 through video link from Washington. The former military ruler had stated that the procedure to record the testimony lacked transparency. He had also raised objection on presence of Farooq H Naek when Siegel’s testimony was recorded. Naek was present as Siegel’s lawyer.

Mark Seigel in his statement recorded through video link had stated that Musharraf made phone call to Benazir Bhutto and threatened her of dire consequences when she was planning to return to Pakistan in 2007.

It may be mentioned here that Mark Siegel is a key prosecution witness against former military dictator General (Retd) Pervez Musharraf in the high profile case.