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Musharraf case: Justice Seth appointed as new head of special court

ISLAMABAD: Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth has been appointed as the new head of a special court that is hearing the high treason case against former president Pervez Musharraf, ARY News reported on Tuesday.

The appointment of Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth, Chief Justice of the Peshawar High Court (PHC), was made after the retirement of former Justice Tahira Safdar.

Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth
Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth taking oath as new chief justice of the Peshawar High Court (PHC). File Photo

A three-member bench headed by the newly-appointed judge began hearing of the high treason case today.

The defence lawyer, Raza Bashir, submitted a plea to postpone the hearing as he was suffering from dengue fever. The plea was later accepted by the court and decided to conduct hearing on daily basis from October. The court will also conduct hearings on Saturdays.

Read: Raza Bashir to represent Musharraf in breach of constitution case

The special court directed the parties in the case to submit written arguments in the next hearing.

Earlier on September 24, the defence counsel of former president Pervez Musharraf had pleaded to the special court for a meeting with the accused before recording his statement under Article 342 in breach of constitution trial against him.

The government’s appointed defence counsel Raza Bashir asked the court to direct the ministry for the arrangement of his meeting with Musharraf.

Justice Nazar Akbar of the two-member bench told the counsel that the time to record the statement of the former president under CrPC 342 has been passed. “You have been appointed under the law to provide assistance to the court,” Justice Nazar Akbar said.

Read: Special court rejects Musharraf’s plea to dismiss breach of constitution case

“Why you have submitted the petition, you were given one month for preparation,” the judge asked the defence lawyer. The bench said the court will not grant any further adjournment.

Justice Shahid Karim asked the counsel to start his final arguments in the case. “If you are not initiating arguments the bench will write it in its order, Justice Nazar Akbar said. Later, the court had adjourned the hearing until October 08.

Raza Bashir Advocate was named the counsel of former president Pervez Musharraf to plead his case before a special court.

The special court had on June 12 barred Musharraf’s lawyer Barrister Salman Safdar from arguing on his behalf over the Supreme Court’s orders and directed the law ministry to appoint a defence lawyer for the former president.

Read: Musharraf will deprive of right to defend if absent in May 2 hearing: SC rules

The former president has been declared an absconder by the special court as he has not been appearing before the court since March 2016, when he left the country.

Gen Musharraf lives in Dubai and has been unable to attend hearings in Pakistan as he is reportedly receiving medical treatment for a rare disease.

Gen Musharraf was booked in a treason case in December 2013. He was indicted on March 31, 2014 in the case for suspending the Constitution by proclamation of emergency on Nov 3, 2007. He left for Dubai in 2016 to seek medical treatment and hasn’t returned since.

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