Islamabad - A local court of the federal capital Friday issued non-bailable arrest warrants of former President General (Retd) Pervez Musharraf in a double murder case of former Lal Masjid cleric Ghazi Abdul Rashid and his mother Sahiba Khatoon.

District and Sessions Judge Kamran Basharat Mufti issued these arrest warrants after turning down Musharraf’s plea to be exempted permanently from appearing before the court in this matter.

In his short judgement, the district and sessions judge also directed the police to arrest him and produce him before the court on July 24 if the former president failed to appear before the court in this murder case.

The court Friday announced its verdict which it had reserved earlier on Thursday after both the parties had concluded their arguments on Musharraf’s application seeking permanent exemption from appearance in the case.

It also directed the guarantors of Musharraf to ensure his presence on the next hearing and their guarantees would be confiscated if they failed to produce the former president before the court.

Advocate Malik Tahir Mehmood, the counsel for Musharraf, said that court has inheritance power and it is authorised to exempt any suspect from appearance. In his application filed under several sections of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), Mehmood said that it was up to court to grant exemption in the case.

Musharraf’s counsel had also submitted afresh application under Section 40 of CrPC and sought his client’s permanent exemption from appearance before the case in this matter by producing a new medical report of the former military ruler.

He had contended that Musharraf could not appear before the court due to his bad health conditions and security reasons. The counsel had further argued that an accused could be granted permanent exemption in a case where more than one accused are involved.

He had also contended that the police have also shown Musharraf’s name in column two of the charge sheet and he should be granted bail and exemption in the case.

Advocate Tariq Asad, the counsel for plaintiff, opposed the requests saying that the accused had not appeared before the court deliberately despite several notices. Opposing the application, plaintiff’s counsel maintained that if Musharraf could appear in TV programmes then why he could not come to the court. Therefore, he requested the court to issue non-bailable warrants of Musharraf.

In this particular matter, the Islamabad police had registered a case against Musharraf for his alleged role in the murder of Rashid and his mother during the Lal Masjid military operation.

The federal police filed the case in 2013 after Haroon Rashid, Ghazi’s son, submitted an application with the Aabpara Police Station for registration an FIR against the former president. In the application, Haroon had referred to about 20 pages of the Lal Masjid Commission report, which held the former president responsible for the operation.