–Apex court orders former military ruler to appear on Thursday or ‘else verdict will be announced as per law’
–CJP Nisar wonders why former dictator wasn’t afraid when he was taking over country, remarks Musharraf should act like ‘commando, not politician’
LAHORE: Former military dictator General (r) Pervez Musharraf has decided not to appear before the Supreme Court (SC), after the apex court ordered him to return to Pakistan by 2 pm on June 14, a local news outlet reported on Wednesday.
The SC earlier today heard a case filed by Musharraf in 2015 against the rejection of his nomination papers in the 2013 general elections, at its Lahore Registry.
Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar ordered the former president to return to the country by 2 pm on Thursday. “The verdict will be announced in compliance with the law upon Musharraf’s failure to follow the orders,” he remarked.
The apex court noted that it was not bound to comply with any conditions set forth by Musharraf.
“Musharraf was assured he would get protection but we are not bound to issue a written assurance to him,” observed CJP Nisar.
A three-judge bench, headed by CJP Nisar, had summoned the former military ruler on June 13 in connection with his petition against the Peshawar High Court (PHC) verdict in 2013 for his lifetime disqualification and assured him that he would not be arrested from the airport till the court premises.
A review petition was filed in the SC for consideration after Musharraf’s lawyer moved the court to allow the former military ruler to contest elections. Last week, the top court had allowed the former president’s candidature on condition that his nomination would only be valid if the SC overturn his disqualification.
Although Musharraf’s nomination papers for Chitral’s NA-1 seat were submitted earlier this week, the former military ruler did not appear in court despite SC orders that his national identity card (CNIC) and passport be unblocked in order to facilitate his travel.
During Wednesday’s proceedings, the court remarked that the former dictator must return by Thursday or else the verdict will be announced as per the law. The apex court added they are not liable to fulfil Musharraf’s conditions for his return and observed that ample security has been promised to him.
The bench also questioned what Musharraf was afraid of as he has been given ample assurances by the apex court.
Musharraf’s lawyer prayed that the former president’s nomination papers for the 2013 election be restored since the high court verdict on the basis of which they were rejected had been made in absentia.
He told the court that the former military ruler is 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 has 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.
“If Musharraf is ailing, how will he show [us] his fist?” he asked, in a reference to the infamous gesture of defiance the former dictator made on May 12, 2007, while Karachi was turned into a bloody battlefield to intimidate the then recently suspended chief justice, Iftikhar Chaudhry, into returning to Islamabad.
“Musharraf should face the Constitution, the law, the nation and the courts,” Justice Nisar asserted.
“The court will examine whether to give Musharraf permission to come and go, and whether his name should be placed on the Exit Control List (ECL) or not,” CJP Nisar said.
The top judge said that the former military dictator should return and face the cases against him for suspension of the Constitution and treason.
“The SC did not give Musharraf permission to travel abroad,” the CJP claimed. “This permission was granted by the government, which took his name off the ECL. The SC decision [in this regard] was taken the wrong way,” he said.