Islamabad: SC asks Musharraf to surrender in Benazir murder case
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday observed that being an absconder in the Benazir Bhutto murder case, former military dictator Pervez Musharraf should surrender before the law. A three-member bench of the apex court, comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain and Justice Tariq Pervez, heard the plea filed by Chaudhry Aslam, former Protocol Officer of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, seeking orders for the registration of a second FIR in the murder case.
During the hearing, Chaudhry Azhar, the counsel for the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), told the court that despite having received the summons, Pervez Musharraf did not furnish a reply. He said warrants for Musharrafís arrest were issued, and he was declared an absconder by an anti–terrorism court due to his continuous absence. He said the FIA had approached Interpol for Pervez Musharrafís arrest.
Justice Tariq Parvez then noted that the apex court had also issued Musharrafís summons on an FIA application which, according to reports, had already been received by him. The chief justice observed that being an absconder,Musharraf should surrender himself before the law. Justice Khilji Arif Hussain noted that the absconder should first surrender before the court according to law.
Raja Aamir Abbas, the counsel for Rehman Malik, sought time to submit a reply, which the court allowed and directed him to file a reply till April 16.Advocate Shehryar Khan told the court that he was not appearing as counsel for Musharraf, but was appearing on the court is notice. The chief justice noted that no one was taking the case seriously as most respondents had neither furnished their replies nor turned up. The court directed the respondents to file their replies and adjourned the hearing till April 16.
The 12 respondents in the instant case are former President Gen Musharraf, former Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, Interior Minister Rehman Malik, former Law Minister Babar Awan, the then acting Interior Minister Lt-Gen (retd) Hamid Nawaz, former director general of Intelligence Bureau Ijaz Hussain Shah, former Interior Secretary Syed Kamal Shah, then Interior Ministryís spokesman Brig (retd) Javed Iqbal Cheema, then Rawalpindi DCO Irfan Elahi, Rawalpindi SSP Saud Aziz and SPs Khurram Shehzad and Yasin Farooq.
On June 23, 2011, the Rawalpindi Bench of the Lahore High Court had dismissed Chaudhry Aslamís plea, requesting the court to order the placement of Babar Awan and Rehman Malik on the Exit Control List (ECL). One of the judges had written an additional note that Chaudhry Aslam was neither an aggrieved party, nor a legal heir of Benazir Bhutto and thus had no right to seek the registration of an FIR in the murder case of Benazir Bhutto.
Chaudhry Muhammad Aslam has contended that he has been trying for the registration of a second FIR since July 8, 2009, but in vain. In his plea before the Supreme Court, Chaudhry Aslam contended that the Lahore High Court’s June 23 decision was unlawful, perverse, without jurisdiction and based on the fanciful application of mind. He submitted that the Lahore High Court had failed to give due consideration to the United Nation’s report of the investigation of Benazir Bhuttoís assassination on which $60 million were spent.