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Musharraf's security: Court seeks in-camera briefing

A Special Court trying former president and army chief Pervez Musharraf on high treason charges on Wednesday decided to get in-camera briefing on the security threats and possible terror attack on accused. Resuming the hearing of the matter, a three-member special bench of Justice Faisal Arab asked Mubarak Ali, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Interior, to convey the court's directions to the concerned heads of the Intelligence Agencies to brief the court in chambers at 1:00pm on Thursday (today).

From the onset of hearing, Musharraf's counsel Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada and Faisal Hussain Chaudhry requested the court to adjourn the matter for one day due to illness of one of the defence counsel Anwar Mansoor Khan. Earlier, in pursuance of the Special Court's directions, its registrar cancelled entry pass of lawyer Rana Ijaz, disallowing him to enter the courtroom.

Special Court had passed an order in the chamber on March 11, relating to Rana Ijaz a copy of which is available with Business Recorder. It says: "Rana Ijaz came up to the rostrum and submitted that he intends to make a statement to which the court asked him whether he intends to make a statement regarding the case as the arguments are to be advanced by another defence counsel Anwar Mansoor Khan.

"Rana Ijaz replied that his statement does not relate to the case but he would like to voice his person opinion, he stated that this court is a slaughter house. Ijaz further said that he received an anonymous life threatening phone call adding that in case he is killed an FIR would be registered against the senior member of the bench." The order maintained that at this stage Anwar Mansoor Khan took over the rostrum and said the statements and words uttered by Rana Ijaz were his own and that he had never been instructed by the accused to make such statement. The court said in its order that a lawyer was under obligation to represent his client and conduct himself in an honourable manner, adding that it was obvious that Rana Ijaz had conducted himself in a manner unbecoming of a legal practitioner and also committed a contempt of this court.

"In view of the matter, we decide that Rana Ijaz be physically removed from the court, the registrar of this court is now directed to cancel his entry pass with directions to the security in-charge not to allow Rana Ijaz to enter the courtroom during further proceedings of the case." the order said. The Special Court directed the registrar to send copies of the order to Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) and Punjab Bar Council for an appropriate disciplinary action against the lawyer.

On March 12, security personnel barred Rana Ijaz from entering the courtroom; to which Rana Ijaz said that he would not tender an apology but will prefer to go behind the bars. While contacted, Vice Chairman of Pakistan Bar Council Ramzan Chaudhry told this correspondent that the PBC had not received the Special Court order officially; however, he said the Council will proceed strictly in accordance with the law purely on merit after the receipt of the order.

Reacting to the cancellation of the entry pass of Rana Ijaz, one of the defence counsel, Faisal Chaudhry, questioned why the Special Court did not announce the sentence to Rana Ijaz in the open court and why it passed an order in the chamber. He also asked why the due process had been avoided with regard to stopping Rana Ijaz from attending the hearing. Later, the court accepted the request of Pirzada on personal grounds and adjourned the hearing of the matter till March 13 (today).

Copyright Business Recorder, 2014


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