Pakistani court adjourns Musharraf high treason proceedings

Islamabad, April 9 (IANS) Pakistan’s top court Tuesday adjourned until April 15 hearing of petitions seeking high treason proceedings against former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf as his defence lawyers sought more time to prepare a response to the charges against him, media reported.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan Monday summoned Musharraf to appear in person or to be represented by lawyers to reply to charges against him.

Musharraf has appointed a team of legal experts to defend him in the apex court, which has received five petitions against him, reported Xinhua.

Defence lawyer Ahmed Raza Kasuri told the court that the defence team needs some time to reply to the charges in the petitions. He also informed the two-member bench that Musharraf could not attend the proceedings over security concerns.

The court had also barred Musharraf from leaving the country and later the Interior Ministry confirmed that Musharraf’s name had been placed on the Exit Control List.

The court issued the orders on requests from the petitioners that Musharraf could go abroad in view of the possible formal trial.

The two-member bench comprising Justice Jawwad S. Khawja and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain will resume hearing April 15 and defence lawyers are likely to submit replies to the charges against Musharraf.

The petitioner requested the court to direct the federal government to prosecute Musharraf under the country’s High Treason Act for suspending the Constitution and imposing emergency rule in 2007.

Musharraf is also facing other legal cases, including the 2006 killing of Baloch tribal leader Nawab Akbar Bugti and the 2007 assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto.

Musharraf, who ruled Pakistan from 1999 to 2008, denied all charges and said he will defend himself in courts. He had resigned in August 2008 to avoid impeachment by parliament and then went into exile.

He returned to Pakistan last month after over four-and-half years of self exile in Britain and the UAE. He is now taking part in the parliamentary elections and also plans to campaign for his All Pakistan Muslim League party.

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