Ghazi murder case: Court summons Musharraf on May 22

ISLAMABAD: A local court in Islamabad resumed hearing the murder case of former prayer leader of Lal Masjid, Abdul Rasheed Ghazi and summoned former president and accused in the case General (Retd) Pervez Musharraf on May 22.

Additional District and Sessions Judge Wajid Ali had rejected Musharraf’s petition seeking permanent exemption in the Ghazi murder case during the last hearing and had summoned him for today. However, he did not appear in today’s proceedings as well.

During today’s proceedings, Musharraf’s lawyer Major (retd) Akhtar Shah appeared in the court and submitted three applications on behalf of his client that included seeking acquittal in the Ghazi murder case, exemption from today’s hearing and permanent exemption from appearing in the court.

Akhtar Shah argued that it is the prosecution’s responsibility to ensure Pervez Musharraf’s appearance in the court. He will appear before the court today and is willing to face the charges against him if he will be provided with adequate security.

The applicant will be responsible if anything happened to Musharraf, Shah said.

The applicant’s lawyer Abdul Haq Malik argued that every time the counsel states the same reason for Musharraf’s absence that his client has security threats and he is unwell. He pleaded the court to summon Pervez Musharraf or his guarantors in case of non-compliance.

The court, then, granted Musharraf exemption from today’s hearing and issued notices to the concerned parties on his applications regarding permanent exemption from the proceedings and acquittal from the murder charges.

Judge Wajid Ali remarked that the accused was granted exemption as he is not present in the city, however, no excuse will be accepted on next hearing and ordered the relevant authorities to ensure his presence on May 22. Following the order, the court adjourned the hearing.

It may be mentioned here that Former President Pervez Musharraf’s petition seeking permanent exemption in the Ghazi murder case had earlier been rejected by Judge Wajid Ali during the last hearing.

Musharraf’s lawyer, Akhtar Shah Advocate had argued that the former president had serious security threats, as had escaped an assassination attempt while he was shifting from hospital to his farmhouse residence.

The plaintiff Haroon Rashid’s lawyer, Tariq Asad Advocate said that Pervez Musharraf could be produced in court by making proper security arrangements. He also suggested that Pervez Musharraf’s trial could be held in the High Court building.

Continuing his argument, plaintiff’s lawyer said that Musharraf was also making his mother’s serious illness an excuse for escaping the trial. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was also not allowed to attend his father’s funeral, he said.

He further said that Pervez Musharraf had been provided with more security than the president and the prime minister and added even US president doesn’t get so much of security.