Lahore: The Supreme Court on Wednesday gave former military dictator Gen (r) Pervez Musharraf until today (Thursday) to present himself in a case pertaining to his lifetime disqualification.
While hearing Musharraf’s appeal against his 2013 disqualification by the Peshawar High Court (PHC), a three-member apex court bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar that a decision on his candidature would be announced in absentia if the former army chief did not show up by 2pm today (Thursday).
The top court had last week permitted Musharraf to file nomination papers for the forthcoming general elections on the condition that he appear in person before the court on June 13 to attend a hearing.
The court had made clear that the fate of Musharraf’s nomination papers would be subject to the final decision in the present case.
Although Musharraf’s nomination papers for NA-1 were submitted earlier this week, the former military ruler did not show up in the court despite the top court’s orders that his national identity card (CNIC) and passport be unblocked in order to facilitate his travel.
“The Supreme Court is not bound to Musharraf’s terms,” the CJP remarked after the former’s counsel insisted on blanket guarantees for his security. “We’ve already said that if Musharraf returns, he will be provided with security. We are not bound to also provide a written guarantee in this regard.”
“If he doesn’t return, the scrutiny of his nomination papers will not be permitted,” Justice Nisar warned. The counsel for Musharraf requested the court to restore the former president’s nomination papers for the 2013 election since the high court verdict on the basis of which they were rejected had been made in absentia.
He said that Musharraf was ready to face an ongoing treason case against him, but he should be provided a guarantee of protection.
“He has Parkinson’s disease, so a medical board will need to be set up,” Musharraf’s lawyer said, to which the chief justice said the court would form a medical board if Musharraf returns in an air ambulance. “What [other] assurance do you want from the Supreme Court: that treason proceedings will not take place against him?” the annoyed CJP asked. “If Pervez Musharraf is a commando, he should show us by returning instead of continuously parroting like a politician that he will return,” the CJP said.
“Why does Musharraf need protection, what is he so afraid of?” the CJP wondered. “How can a commando be so afraid? Musharraf had said that he evaded death many times but was never afraid,” he remarked. “He didn’t feel afraid when he was taking over this country,” the top judge added.