Pak SC to Musharraf: How can a commando be so afraid?

ISLAMABAD: Former President Pervez Musharraf to appear before the extended deadline issued by Pakistan’s Supreme Court. The apex court while hearing his appeal against the 2013 disqualification by the Peshawar High Court, however, stressed why was a “commando so afraid to return to his country.”

The former president, who ruled the country between 1998 and 2008, is in UAE and has sought adequate security, for his return to the country. Last week, the top court allowed him to file nomination to fight the July 25 general election on condition that he would appear in the court today.

“If Pervez Musharraf is a commando, he should show us by returning, instead of continuously parroting that he will return like a politician,” Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Saqib Nisar, who headed the three-judge bench while  hearing the case today said, Pakistan’s daily the Dawn reported.

“Why does Musharraf need protection, what is he so afraid of?” he said. “How can a commando be so afraid? Musharraf would say that he has evaded death many times but he was never afraid,” he said

Pak fully capable to respond to any spectrum of threat:Sharif

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif today said Pakistan’s armed forces are fully capable and prepared to respond to any spectrum of threat.

The remarks by Sharif come against the backdrop of spike in Indo-Pak tensions over the death sentence awarded to Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav by a military court and on a day when New Delhi warned Islamabad to consider the consequences on bilateral ties if he is hanged.

Sharif at the same time said that Pakistan wants good relations with all countries, particularly its neighbours.

“The nation has full trust in the country’s armed forces,” he said, assuring the forces of government’s full support in equipping it to address modern day challenges.

Sharif said the concept of national security has undergone a transformation and wars are no longer an exclusive sphere of military forces, Radio Pakistan reported.

Jadhav, the 46-year-old former naval officer, has been sentenced to death for alleged “spying”.

Reacting strongly to the move, India summoned Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit in New Delhi yesterday and warned Islamabad that it is a case of “premeditated murder”.

Addressing the passing out parade of graduating cadets at Pakistan Air Force Academy (PAF) Asghar Khan in Khyber- Pakhtunkhwa, Sharif said that cooperation, rather than conflict and shared prosperity, rather than mutual suspicion, is the hallmark of Pakistan’s policy.

“Pakistan is a peace loving country and has always maintained the policy of having friendly relations with other countries particularly its neighbours,” Sharif said.

He said Pakistan on its part will never hesitate to extend the hand of friendship to all and will never waver from returning goodwill with even more goodwill.

Sharif, however, said “despite our desire for peaceful coexistence, we cannot remain oblivious to defending our sovereignty and protecting our independence”.

Arrested FBI agent doesn’t enjoy diplomatic immunity: Pakistan

bbThe Pakistan foreign ministry Thursday said an employee of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrested this week for carrying ammunition does not enjoy diplomatic immunity.

Joel Cox was arrested Monday in the southern port city of Karachi while attempting to board a domestic flight to the capital Islamabad, after the Airport Security Force (ASF) found 15 bullets of 9 mm calibre and a pistol clip in his baggage.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman, Tasnim Aslam, told a weekly press briefing that the US had sought consular access for Cox and that had been granted, Xinhua reported.

She also confirmed that the US embassy had contacted the government about the arrest of Cox.

The US authorities said that Cox was in Pakistan for police training.

However, a police officer in Karachi said investigators had not yet confirmed the claim.

The police are investigating how a person can carry ammunition when he is in Pakistan on a visit visa, adding that Cox has failed to provide any document that allows him to keep bullets.

A local judge in Karachi has ordered Cox to remain in police custody until May 10 for questioning.

However, the district and sessions judge in Karachi Thursday accepted Cox’s bail plea and ordered his release.

Cox has claimed in his bail application that the ammunition found in his baggage was not his and that he was being implicated in the case.

The devices seized from Cox’s possession include a pen camera and a locator gadget.

(Source: IANS)

Musharraf seeks access to federal probe report

MusharrafFormer Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf requested the special court that is trying him for high treason Thursday to order the government to provide him with the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) report.

The three-judge bench comprising Justice Faisal Arab, Justice Syeda Tahira Safdar and Justice Yawar Ali Khan heard the case Thursday, Geo News reported.

Farogh Nasim, lawyer for the former president, told the court he would submit his reply to prosecutor Akram Sheikh’s arguments and requested the court to order the government to provide him the investigative report submitted by the FIA, the report said.

Prosecutor Akram Sheikh, however, refused to hand over the investigative report.

Nasim argued that the Special Court Act was not comprehensive and that was why the country’s Supreme Court ordered for criminal proceedings in the case.

On March 31, Musharraf was formally charged for subverting the constitution by imposing Emergency in the country Nov 3, 2007.

The former army strongman, however, has rejected all charges levelled against him.

(Source: IANS)

Pakistan under EU scrutiny for human rights

bbThe European Parliament Monday cautioned the Pakistani government for its lack of respect for human rights and debated on the impact on minorities of the recently passed Pakistan Protection Ordinance 2014.

The MEPs deliberated about how the European Parliament expresses strong reservations and condemns the draconian and controversial Pakistan Protection Ordinance 2014 passed recently by the Pakistani government, notwithstanding widespread criticism

against it by opposition political groups and independent human rights organizations on grounds of its high potential for misuse by the Pakistani military, security and intelligence apparatus to arbitrarily persecute ethnic as well as religious minorities, vulnerable sections of society, indulge in extrajudicial killings, violations of human rights and dignity and circumvent the rule of law.

The European Parliament also discussed the need to put in place a framework where the European Union should monitor more closely the human rights atrocities continuing unabated in Pakistan and make the Pakistani government accountable for the delay in justice provided to the victims and their families.

(Source: IANS)

ATC orders Musharraf to appear at next hearing

MusharrafAn anti-terrorism court in here that is hearing the judges’ detention case against former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf, Friday ordered him to appear in person at its next hearing April 25.

The ATC has directed Musharraf’s guarantors to make sure of the former army strongman’s presence in its next hearing, Dawn online reported.

Musharraf’s lawyer presented Musharraf’s medical report and said that he could not appear in court for Friday’s hearing due to security reasons to which the ATC, accepting the application, adjourned the case till April 25.

The judges’ detention case is based on an FIR filed against Musharraf in August 2009 on the complaint of advocate Chaudhry Mohammad Aslam Ghumman.

He had asked the police to initiate legal proceedings against Musharraf for detaining over 60 judges, including then chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, after proclamation of a state of emergency in the country Nov 3, 2007.

Musharraf was indicted Monday on charges of high treason. He pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The former president has been charged with high treason for suspending the constitution when he declared emergency rule in 2007.

He took over in a bloodless coup when he dismissed the government of then prime minister Nawaz Sharif in 1999.

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

(Source: IANS)

Special court judge, order stay in Musharraf case

MusharrafJustice Faisal Arab, who heads the special court set up to try former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf for high treason, remains part of the court and the order calling for the ex-military strongman’s appearance March 31 stands, the court said Thursday.

After being repeatedly accused by Musharraf’s lawyers of being biased and partial, Justice Arab stormed off from Thursday’s proceedings. But he later issued a statement that he had only excused himself and not dissociated himself from the case altogether, media reported.

The special court has issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against Musharraf and the hearing of the case has been adjourned till March 31.

The special court has dismissed petitions against the non-bailable arrest warrant of Musharraf.

Defence 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 against his client, Dawn online reported.

The court in a ruling earlier this month 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 defence 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 charges of high treason for suspending the constitution when he declared Emergency in Pakistan in 2007.

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

Musharraf resigned in 2008 as president and went into exile, and returned to Pakistan in March this year to run in parliamentary elections. However, a court disqualified him from contesting 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.

(Source:IANS)

Samba spy case: Termination of services not malafide, says SC

supreme courtThe Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the central government’s decision to terminate the services of seven army personnel, who were allegedly caught spying for Pakistan in Samba in 1978.

A three-judge bench, headed by Justice BS Chauhan, set aside the 2010 Delhi high court judgment quashing the dismissal orders against Major SP Sharma, Captain Arun Sharma, Captain JS Yadav, Captain VK Dewan, Major Kulwant Singh, Major Ajwani and Major RK Midha. The bench held that the President had rightly terminated their services as their continuance would be a threat to the national security. The high court had observed that there was no sufficient ground to charge them as spies.

The Supreme Court reprimanded the high court for taking an erroneous view “despite the fact that there was sufficient material to prove the guilt of the accused officers for spying at the behest of Pakistan”.

“The safety and security of the country is above all. When the President terminated the services of army officers, whose service tenure is at the pleasure of the President and such termination is based on material on record, then this court in exercise of powers of judicial review should be slow in interfering with the President exercising constitutional power,” the bench said.

The Supreme Court observed that the records clearly established that the inquiry against these officers was initiated by the army headquarters, director of military intelligence and the file went from chief of the army staff to the ministry of defence with strong recommendations to terminate their services in the interest of security of the state.

“On the basis of the material available, it cannot be held that the impugned order of termination was malafide or arbitrary as alleged by the officers,” the SC added.

(Source: IANS)

Musharraf treason case adjourned over lawyers’ strike

MusharrafThe hearing of former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf’s treason case was adjourned Tuesday until Wednesday as the special court judges could not reach the premises amid a boycott of the proceedings by lawyers.

The lawyers representing the district bar and Islamabad High Court called a strike following Monday’s gun and bomb attack in a court here that left at least 11 people dead, including additional sessions judge Rafaqat Awan, and injured 29, reported the Dawn online.

The former army chief is facing the charge of high treason, which can carry the death sentence, for imposing Emergency and subverting the constitution in 2007.

Registrar Abdul Ghani Soomro adjourned the case’s hearing as special court judges could not reach the court premises.

Musharraf’s counsel Ahmed Raza Kasuri said the lawyers have announced boycott of court proceedings for a week.

Following the attack, there were security threats surrounding the court premises, Kasuri said.

He said if weak security prevailed, Musharraf would not appear in the court.

(Source: IANS)

Court summons Sanjay Dutt in threat case

Actor Sanjay Dutt has been summoned by the local court on March 1 in a criminal case filed by producer Shakeel Noorani who has alleged he got threat calls from the underworld at Dutt’s behest.

However, actor’s lawyer Rizwan Merchant denied that threat calls were made at Dutt’s behest and said they would put up their case in the court.

Both the producer and actor are at loggerheads over an issue in which the actor disbanded Noorani’s film “Jaan Ki Baazi” half way in 2002 and refused to shoot further. Dutt also refused to return part payment of Rs 50 lakh to the producer, according to Noorani.

Acting on Noorani’s complaint, the Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court at suburban Andheri last week asked Dutt or his lawyer to appear before it to answer the allegations of criminal intimidation levelled against him by the producer.

Merchant confirmed having received the court summons. “Yes, we have received the summons,” he mentioned.

Noorani had earlier approached Indian Motion Picture Producers’ Association, which had directed Dutt to pay Rs2 crore to Noorani for the loss incurred during the shooting.

As the filmstar did not pay the money, Noorani approached the Bombay High Court and prayed for execution of the order passed by IMPPA. In 2010, the High Court ordered attachment of two properties of the 53-year-old actor.

Noorani alleged that soon after the HC order, he started getting threating phone calls which were traced to Dubai and Karachi after which he filed a criminal case.

Dutt’s lawyer refuted allegations that the calls had been made at his client’s behest and claimed he had been falsely implicated. Merchant said calls were made in 2011 and Noorani may have engineered the calls after visiting Pakistan.