Press Trust of IndiaIslamabad
It would be "good" for Pervez Musharraf if he returns to Pakistan to face the high treason trial, the Islamabad High Court has observed as it directed his lawyer to submit the former military dictator's travel itinerary at the next hearing.
General Musharraf, 75, who has been living in Dubai since 2016, is facing the treason case for suspending the Constitution in 2007. The former military ruler left for Dubai in March 2016 for medical treatment and has not returned since.
The former Pakistan Army chief has been declared an absconder due to his persistent failure to appear before a special trial court set up to try him in the case.
A two-judge division bench heard the petition filed by Musharraf against the constitution of a judicial commission by the special court for recording his statement.
The Islamabad High Court (IHC) division bench, which resumed hearing of the case on Monday, told the counsel to visit Musharraf in Dubai and convince him to face the trial and bring the former leader back if possible, Dawn newspaper reported
"It would be good for Gen Musharraf if he comes back and faces trial," the bench said.
It directed the counsel to consult Musharraf and submit his travel itinerary at the next hearing, the report said.
The bench also assured Musharraf's lawyer Salman Safdar that foolproof security would be provided to the former president if he returned. The court adjourned further hearing till the second week of December.
Pakistan's Supreme Court in September assured Musharraf that high-level security will be provided to him if he returns to the country to face the trial in the treason case.
The former president was indicted in March 2014 on treason charges for suspending the Constitution and imposing emergency which led to the confinement of a number of superior court judges in their houses and sacking of over 100 judges.
A conviction for high-profile treason carries the death penalty or life imprisonment.
Irked by Musharraf's failure to come back to Pakistan and face ongoing cases against him, Chief Justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar early last month warned that if the "courageous commando" did not appear soon, he may be forced to return in a disgraceful manner.
Musharraf, who ruled Pakistan from 1999 to 2008, has been declared a fugitive in former prime minister Benazir Bhutto murder case and Red Mosque cleric killing case.