ISLAMABAD: The special court constituted to try former military ruler Pervez Musharraf for high treason indicted him on Monday and put the ball in the government’s court in relation to the request put forward by the former president to be allowed to travel abroad, DawnNews reported.
The registrar of the special court read out the court’s decision on the request of the former military dictator to travel abroad in order to meet his ailing mother. The court also granted Musharraf exemption from appearing in the case’s hearings saying the accused could be ordered to appear in court whenever required.
The decision said that as long as the accused was not in custody, he could seek medical treatment at any place of his choice, adding that an accused could not be restrained from travelling nor could his/her rights as a human being be curtailed for any reason.
However, the court added that removal of Musharraf’s name from ECL was not the prerogative of the special court as it had not ordered for the inclusion of his name in the list in the first place.
The hearing of the case was adjourned to April 15.
Earlier during the day, the three judge court headed by Justice Faisal Arab of the Sindh High Court read out the indictment against the ex-army strongman, with Musharraf pleading “not guilty” to each of them.
Musharraf, who has been absent from most of the tribunal’s hearings owing to security threats and ill health, then turned to address the court.
“I honour this court and prosecution, I strongly believe in law I don’t have ego problems, and I have appeared in court 16 times in this year in Karachi, Islamabad and Rawalpindi,” the 70-year-old, who ruled from 1999 to 2008, said.
“I am being called a traitor, I have been chief of army staff for nine years and I have served this army for 45 years. I have fought two wars and it is ‘treason’?”
The indictment [see full version below] cited imposition of Nov 3, 2007 emergency as one of the charges against Musharraf which led to the violation of Article 6 of the Constitution. It also included the deposition of superior court judges and the suspension of fundamental rights among the list of charges.
The charge sheet, which Musharraf signed today, also refers to his oath-taking under the Provisional Constitution Order (PCO).
The former military ruler has pleaded not guilty, saying he would stand his ground.