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Judge ‘Walks Out’ of Musharraf Case

In this photograph taken on December 29, 2013, Pakistan’s former military ruler Pervez Musharraf addresses foreign media representatives at his farmhouse in Islamabad. — Photo by AFP

ISLAMABAD, March 27 — Justice Faisal Arab who heads the special three-member court constituted to try former military president Pervez Musharraf for high treason has said that he only walked out from Thursday’s proceedings and has not recused himself from the case.

Justice Arab of the Sindh High Court had to issue a statement to clarify that he had only walked out of Thursday’s proceedings as opposed to dissociating himself from the case altogether, Dawn online reported.

Musharraf’s lawyers had accused Justice Arab of bias and partiality.

Defense lawyer Anwar Mansoor said Thursday that he was not satisfied with the way the case was being heard. He reiterated his criticism of the issuance of non-bailable arrest warrant for his client.

The court in a verdict earlier this month had rejected objections to the court’s formation, the alleged bias of its judges and the procedure for the judges’ nomination.

Justice Arab left the court room Thursday saying that if the defense did not think the judges were impartial, the country had no shortage of jurists who could be asked to do the job.

Musharraf is facing high treason charges for suspending the constitution when he declared emergency rule in 2007.

Musharraf had taken over in a bloodless coup when he had dismissed the government of then prime minister Nawaz Sharif in 1999.

Musharraf, who had resigned in 2008 as president and had gone into exile, returned to Pakistan in March this year to run in parliamentary elections. However, a court disqualified him from competing in the general elections in May last year.

The court issued an arrest warrant for Musharraf Jan 31 after he failed to appear at previous hearings despite several orders. Legal experts are now of the view that the arrest warrant and other verdicts are null and void. –IANS

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