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Petitions filed for removal of terrorism charges against Musharraf

ISLAMABAD: (Web Desk) The counsel for former president retired Gen Pervez Musharraf field in the Islamabad High Court on Monday two petitions seeking removal of terrorism charges against him in the judges’ detention case and nullification of perpetual warrants issued against him.

In the first petition filed before a division bench comprising Justices Athar Minallah and Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, Advocate Akhtar Shah challenged invocation of certain sections of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), 1997, against the former dictator in connection with the judges’ detention case.

The case is about the alleged detention of over 60 judges of superior courts soon after the proclamation of a state of emergency on Nov 3, 2007.

Initially, Gen Musharraf was booked under some sections of the Pakistan Penal Code, but Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the IHC, while hearing the pre-arrest bail application of the suspect, directed the Secretariat Police Station to book him under the ATA for confining judges to their residences, thereby incapacitating them from administrating justice.

According to Advocate Shah, the prosecution could not bring evidence to justify the application of ATA to the accused. The lawyer urged the bench to either quash the entire proceedings or remove terrorism charges against his client and remand the case to a sessions judge.

The bench reserved its verdict on the maintainability of the petition.

The counsel filed the second petition before Justice Aamer Farooq of the IHC against an order of a trial court under which Gen Musharraf was declared an absconder and perpetual warrants were issued for him in the murder case of a cleric belonging to Lal Masjid.

Advocate Shah took the plea that since Abdul Rashid Ghazi, the cleric, had been killed during the 2007 military operation on the mosque, such matters could not be heard in courts under Article 245 of the Constitution.

He claimed that the prosecution did not obtain the mandatory approval from the government before filing a complaint against Gen Musharraf. He requested the court to quash the proceedings against his client.

However, when Justice Farooq asked him whether any counsel could plead the case of a fugitive of law, the latter sought time to respond to the question.

The court then adjourned the hearing till the first week of April.

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