Special court to address "proclaimed offender" Musharraf's representation in high treason case

| Updated: Aug 23, 2017 11:20 IST

Islamabad, July 13 (ANI): A special court is likely to decide if former military dictator and president General Pervez Musharraf (Retired) can be represented by his defence counsel in a high treason case after being declared a 'proclaimed offender'. The hearing is to take place on July 19. Adjourning the proceedings of the high treason case, a three judge bench of the special court headed by Chief Justice of the Peshawar High Court (PHC)Mazhar Alam Miankhel observed that: "Since the accused (Musharraf) has become a fugitive from the law, and all the legal formalities as required under sections 204, 514 and 87 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) have been completed against him, (his) defence team is directed to assist the court (on) whether it can represent the accused anymore, " reports the Dawn On May 11, the bench declared Musharraf a 'proclaimed offender' in a high treason case, and directed the prosecution to publically advertise the proclamation. On March 8, the special court had summoned Musharraf to record his statement under section 342 of the CrPC but days before he was required to testify, Musharraf left the country. He is yet to attend the proceedings, even though the special court has issued a number of summons. During Tuesday's hearing, when the court noted that Musharraf's defence counsel could not represent him in the treason case after he was absconding, his lawyer Ahmed Raza Qasuri, asked the bench to issue written directions in this regard. The court, however, then asked the defence to explain whether they could represent the accused despite the fact that he is a fugitive. In this regard, snior prosecution lawyer Sardar Asmatullah said that technically Musharraf cannot be represented by his attorney saying that a proclaimed offender is an "outlaw" and the accused is a fugitive, and has therefore lost the right to be represented by an attorney unless he surrenders before the court. However, Musharraf's counsel, Faisal Hussain, said that there is no law in place that can prevent a lawyer from defending an accused despite his absence. Another experienced lawyer Syed Mohammad Tayyab also said the accused could be represented by counsel despite being a fugitive. (ANI)