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Musharraf’s attorney offers himself for punishment


ISLAMABAD: The proceedings of treason trial took a dramatic turn on Wednesday when an attorney of retired Gen Pervez Musharraf offered himself for punishment in place of the former president even though the special court has yet to indict the former dictator for high treason.

Advocate Rana Ijaz Ahmed, who was law minister of Punjab in the Musharraf regime, asked the court to hang him or sentence him for life as envisaged in the High Treason Punishment Act 1973 for abrogating the Constitution.

“The former president is admitted to hospital. I served with him as provincial law minister and it will be an honour for me if the court may announce any sentence for me in place of Gen Musharraf,” he said, adding: “I am a true friend of Gen Musharraf and want to prove that a friend in need is a friend indeed.”

In an emotional tone, Mr Ijaz said the court did not mind him sleeping and snoring inside the courtroom for which he was thankful to the honourable judges. “Today I am in fresh mood and have decided to experience jail lockup.”

But Justice Faisal Arab of the Sindh High Court, who heads the three-judge special court, reminded him that Gen Musharraf had not made any confessional statement, rather the defence counsel had challenged jurisdiction of the court.

The court then took up an application filed by Dr Khalid Ranjha seeking transfer of the high treason case to a military court.

Advocate Akram Sheikh, head of the prosecution team, argued that being an accused in the case Gen Musharraf could neither be restored to his rank for the purpose of his court martial in terms of section 7 of the Pakistan Army Act 1952 nor did the PAA practically permit the court martial of an army chief.

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