Probe report presented in court trying Musharraf

Islamabad, May 14 (IANS): The investigation report of the national probe agency FIA was Wednesday presented in the special court trying former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf for high treason, media reported.

The 237-page report, prepared by the Federal Investigation Agency on steps taken by the former military ruler, will be handed over to his legal team as per his request, Dawn online reported.

The report was presented to the three-judge bench headed by Justice Faisal Arab which had May 8 ordered FIA to provide its enquiry report to the accused.

In its order, the court had directed the prosecutor to file by May 14, 2014 copies of all statements of all persons that were recorded during the course of investigation -- whether they were intended to be produced as prosecution witnesses or not -- and the gist of evidence of all the witnesses likely to be adduced at the trial, and copies of all documents collected during the course of the investigation which have any nexus with the charges against the former president.

The court also said that a copy of the Joint Investigation Report, inclusive of any separate note if recorded by any member of the team, must also be filed in court. The defence had contended in its arguments that there was a dissenting note by one investigator who had stated that a single person cannot be tried for the offence.

The order said the copies of all such documents shall be delivered to the defence counsel on the same day -- May 14. The process of recording evidence of the prosecution witness shall commence May 22 so that the defence counsel may have a clear seven days to examine the documents and prepare his case, as per law.

The defence in its application, the first that has been allowed by the special court, had demanded that the names of all the co accused who aided and abetted with the accused in the promulgation of emergency order of Nov 3, 2007 be supplied and process be issued to them and they be tried jointly. It also demanded the investigation report based on which the case of high treason was filed and said the names of all those who were questioned in the course of the FIA investigation should also be made available in the interest of a fair trial.

The order said the prosecution had neither claimed immunity nor any secrecy with respect to any material that was collected during the investigation. The right to a fair trial is associated with the right of access to justice, the court held. While issuing directions to the prosecution to furnish all relevant material, it said that disclosure of all material having nexus with the alleged crime when demanded by the defence becomes a legal obligation and its withholding a breach. 

Defence lawyer Faisal Hussain said it was the constitutional right of the accused to get all the material evidence and the court had agreed with the defence contention.

The FIA report contains statements from 24 witnesses besides enlisting names of the abettors of the declaration of emergency in Pakistan in 2007.

The former military strongman has been charged with high treason for suspending the constitution when he declared Emergency rule in 2007.

He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Musharraf was arrested last year after a court disqualified him from contesting in the general elections held in May 2013.


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