Ready to record statement from hospital bed in Dubai in treason trial: Musharraf

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Lahore:┬áPakistan’s ailing former dictator Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf has informed a court here that he is ready to record his statement from a hospital bed in Dubai in the treason trial against him, according to a media report on Tuesday.

Musharraf, who has been living in Dubai since March 2016, is facing treason charges for suspending the Constitution and imposing emergency rule in 2007, a punishable offence for which he was indicted in 2014.

The 76-year-old former Pakistan Army chief left for Dubai for medical treatment and has not returned since, citing security and health reasons.

The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Tuesday resumed hearing of a petition filed Musharraf requesting to stay the treason case trial against him until he recuperates and appears before the court, The Express Tribune reported.

The newspaper reported that Musharraf, who is currently in Dubai for treatment of a rare medical condition, recorded a video message from his hospital bed in which he said that he was ready to record his statement in the case.

“A judicial commission can come here and hear me out. It must see my health condition and make a decision. The commission, with my lawyer, must then be heard in the court,” Musharraf added.

Musharraf has maintained that owing to his deteriorating health, multiple life-threatening ailments and of his aged mother, he is unable to return to Pakistan.

During Tuesday’s proceedings, the high court questioned how former the former president’s actions in 2007 fall under the ambit of Article 6 of the Constitution.

According to Article 6, any person who abrogates or subverts or suspends or holds in abeyance, or attempts or conspires to abrogate or subvert or suspend or hold in abeyance, the Constitution by use of force or show of force or by any other unconstitutional means shall be guilty of high treason.

A person found guilty of high treason as defined in Article 6 of the Constitution, could be punished with death or life imprisonment.

Musharraf became Pakistan’s first Army chief to be charged with treason when he was indicted on March 31, 2014. He pleaded not guilty to five charges and dismissed them as being politically motivated.

While adjourning the case till December 17, the Lahore High Court on Tuesday directed Additional Attorney General Ishtiaq A Khan to discuss the matter with the interior secretary on whether the formal military ruler imposing emergency in 2007 amounts to the abrogation of the Constitution.

The court further asked whether the complaint could be withdrawn at this stage and sought the interior secretary’s opinion on how the act falls under Article 6.

On November 29, the Islamabad High Court (IHC), while hearing a petition of the interior ministry, had restrained the special court from announcing its verdict in the Musharraf’s treason case which it was to hand down on November 29.

In a two-page brief order, the IHC asked the special court to hear pleas of all sides and decide the case “in accordance with the law” while directing the government to form a new prosecution team for the case by December 5.

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