|Lawyer for former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, Ahmed Raza Kasuri, speaks to the media after a hearing in Islamabad, capital of Pakistan, March 14, 2014. A Pakistani court on Friday issued a non-bailable arrest warrant for former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf in high treason case. The arrest warrant was issued after Musharraf failed to appear before the three-member bench on Friday. (Xinhua/Ahmad Kamal)
ISLAMABAD, March 14 (Xinhua) -- A Pakistani court on Friday issued non-bailable arrest warrant for former military ruler Pervez Musharraf in high treason case.
The arrest warrant was issued after Musharraf failed to appear before the three-member bench on Friday.
The court had summoned the former president to formally indict him with high treason charges for abrogating the constitution.
The court ordered Mushararf to appear on March 31.
"Arrest the accused if he refuses to appear before the court," a short order said.
Musharraf, who had taken over in a bloodless coup in 1999, has been accused of committing high treason when he suspended the constitution and imposed emergency in November 2007.
Musharraf's defense lawyer, Anwar Mansoor, earlier told the court that the former president cannot appear because of dangers to his life.
"We cannot take risk to bring Musharraf to the court," Mansoor had told the court when head of the three member bench asked him why the accused has not been produced. He referred to a recent threat alert by the security agencies, saying the Taliban and al- Qaeda militants have planned an assassination attempt on Pervez Musharraf.
According to the letter, a copy of which was also released to the media on Monday, the ministry has warned that the militants have planned to target Musharraf inside or outside the court.
Musharraf's another defense lawyer, Ahmed Reza Kasuri, presented a copy of the letter as the proceedings started Tuesday morning.
Pakistan Taliban had denied threats to Musharraf and said they would not attack him due to a month-long cease-fire announced on March 1st.
The prosecutor, Akram Sheikh, insisted the court to issue an un- bailable arrest warrant for Musharraf as he is avoiding court's appearance. He also suggested that if Musharraf does not want to appear then the proceedings could be held inside a prison.
The court was informed that over 2,000 security personnel are deployed for Musharraf's security on every hearing. However Musharraf's defense team was dissatisfied with measures against security threats.
Musharraf is Pakistan's first military ruler in the country's nearly 66-year history to face high treason charge.
Legal experts said that if found guilty, Musharraf could either face death penalty or life imprisonment under Pakistani laws.
Musharraf had already got bails in three high profile cases, including the 2007 assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who was killed in a suicide bomb attack and gunshots during Musharraf's rule in Rawalpindi.
Musharraf, who had resigned in 2008 as president and had gone into exile, returned to Pakistan last March to run in parliamentary elections in May. However, a court disqualified him from standing in the May elections.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, whose previous government was dislodged by Musharraf, announced in June last year the opening of the high treason case against the former military president for suspension of the constitution. The decision had evoked mixed reaction as critics were of the view that Pakistan faces several serious challenges and cannot afford such a trial.
In January, Musharraf was taken to a military hospital in the nearby Rawalpindi city for medical check-up, when he was on the way to the court, according to his lawyers.
He is still under treatment in the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology and doctors said he wants treatment abroad.
The court has however rejected his request and ruled that all facilities are available in Pakistan.
The government has also rejected his request for allowing him to go abroad.
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ISLAMABAD, March 7 (Xinhua) -- A special court in Pakistan, hearing high treason case against former President Pervez Musharraf, on Friday rejected all objections at the court that has now removed all obstacles for smooth trial, lawyers said.
Musharraf's defence council had raised objections against the formation of the special court for his high treason trial for the bias of its judges and procedure of judge's nomination. Full story
Musharraf's lawyers claim to be threatened by Taliban
ISLAMABAD, March 5 (Xinhua) -- A group of lawyers defending former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf in high treason case said Wednesday that the Taliban militants have threatened and asked them to dissociate from the case.
The lawyers, who presented a letter in Musharraf's trial court, claimed that the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has sent the letter. Full story