LAHORE - The prosecution is finding a way out to indict Gen Pervez Musharraf for treason even if he stays away from the three-judge special court, which is due to resume proceedings in this high profile case on Monday, knowledgeable sources said on Saturday.
Many lawyers are of the view that the presence of the accused in court is mandatory for indictment. However, sources close to the prosecution team claim that they will come up with a way out next week.
Gen Musharraf is under treatment at the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology, Rawalpindi. While the spouse of the former president-COAS is making efforts to seek government’s permission to take her husband abroad for treatment, some newspapers have quoted doctors as saying that the ailment can be treated at home.
A final decision on the matter will be taken by the court in the light of the test reports of the former president-COAS.
The lawyers of Gen Musharraf insist that the accused can’t be indicted in absence. In the light of this argument they want to keep Gen Musharraf away from the court on one pretext or the other.
According to sources, it was because of phone call from a defence lawyer that the court-bound Gen Musharraf decided to go to the AFIC on Thursday. Had there been no call, Gen Musharraf would have reached the court and been charge-sheeted. Despite Sehba Musharraf’s efforts for treatment abroad of her husband, the government is determined to take the case to its logical conclusion. Sources say that head of the prosecution team - Akram Sheikh - has been given a firm assurance that the case will not be withdrawn at any cost and at any stage.
It is alleged that the family of Mr Sheikh is being harassed by some unknown people belonging to agencies. A few days ago an operative of some agency met a son of Akram Sheikh at his Lawrence Road office in Lahore and asked him about the whereabouts of his father. The security camera of the office was found mysteriously switched off, because the ‘visitor’ did not like to be identified. The son brought the matter to the notice of his father. Relevant authorities are looking into the matter.
Some members of the prosecution team believe that the army is fully supporting Gen Musharraf, regardless of their neutrality claims made by Defence Minister Khwaja Asif. They also think that the government may pay a price for putting a former army chief on trial.
In a related development, a petition is likely to be filed in the special court against a senior member of Gen Musharraf’s defence team. The petitioner, a lawyer, wants that the senior lawyer should be proceeded against for supporting military administrations in the past. Such a person, the petitioner thinks, should be implicated in this case as accused and disallowed to defend Gen Musharraf.