ISLAMABAD - The Special Court Friday issued bailable arrest warrants for former General-President Pervez Musharraf, subject to submitting of surety bonds of Rs2.5 million.
On January 2, the former Chief of Army Staff had been admitted in Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology (AFIC) on account of heart attack, which he reportedly suffered on his way from his farmhouse to the court and was therefore taken to the hospital instead.
Musharraf’s legal team failed to advance cogent reasons that their client is not completely fit to appear before the three-judge special court, headed by Justice Faisal Arab, and the court therefore issued his bailable arrest warrants.
“We are of the view that no reasonable excuse has been offered to justify failure of the accused to appear before this court, therefore, there is no alternative except to issue bailable warrant of arrest for the accused subject to executing a surety bond of Rs2.5 million,” the order said. Islamabad Inspector General of Police was directed to serve the warrant and submit its compliance report on next hearing on February 7.
The court also dismissed former army strongman’s applications for removing his name from the ECL and allowing him to proceed abroad for getting medical treatment of his choice in the United States. The order stated, “They had not directed the federal government to place his (Musharraf’s) name on the ECL therefore there is no question of directing it to remove his name from the ECL (exit control list).
The order said though the special court comprised of three judges of High Courts but it does not possess power of judicial review of administrative actions as available to a High Court under the Provisions of Article 199 of the constitution. The Sindh High Court on 23-12-2013 had also turned down Musharraf’s request for removing his name from ECL in another case.
The bench after hearing the prosecution’s objections on the medical report (submitted by AFIC Medical Board on January 24) and the defence counsel reply adjourned the hearing for 15 minutes. When the court reassembled, Justice Arab said they wanted to further deliberate on the report and pass an order during the course of day, which was announced at 5pm.
The court in pursuance of the complaint filed federal government under Section 3 of the High Treason (Punishment), Act, 1973, had summoned Musharraf on December 24, 2013. A team of lawyers represented him while Musharraf did not appear before the court initially due to security reasons, and later due to alleged heart ailment. The AFIC was asked to submit report regarding Musharraf’s health condition. The AFIC medical team on January 7, 2014 filed the report, which neither described the nature of the heart ailment nor its seriousness to an extent that he could not appear before the court.
The ex-president continued his non-appearance and the court on 16-01-2014 directed for constitution of a medical board comprising senior doctors of AFIC and gave three questions to the team to answer them in the fresh report. However, the medical board did not provide question-wise answers and presented an ambiguous report.
The court examined the report on its face value without doubting the calibre and integrity of the doctors concerned. “We are of the considered view that while answering to our questions the medical report does not suggest that the accused in his present state of health is to remain confined to bed, and is not allowed any movement of a nature that he is prevented from appearing before this court.”
The court said that in absence of any such restriction imposed by the doctors, no reasonable excuse exists to justify the failure of the accused to appear before this court. The doctors in their medical report have not found it appropriate to impose any restriction on his movement, this by itself implies that no such advise was given to the accused.
The court also said that it is evident that the accused has expressed his keenness to undergo coronary angiography, but at the same time has shown reservations from undertaking such procedure at AFIC, and wants that the same be performed at a medical facility of his choice. It further said the accused is staying in the hospital for a month now and so far he has not undergone coronary angiography at AFIC. AFIC itself claims that it has a state of the art tertiary cardiac care facility with highly qualified heart specialists and is also ISO certified. It also claims that it performs about 1,600 surgeries a year of which 80% are open heart surgeries.
The doctors in their medical report have narrated the risks of not undertaking the procedure of coronary angiography. If at all the accused is suffering from any heart ailment, we have not imposed any restriction whatsoever on his getting medical treatment, nor does he require our permission to undergo suggested coronary angiography as he is not in prison.