ISLAMABAD - Annoyed over the removal of General (r) Pervez Musharraf’s name from the Exit Control List, the Special Court Thursday directed the interior secretary to file a written statement in a fortnight, explaining the government position.

The former army chief went abroad on March 18 after the federation removed his name from ECL.

Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel, president of the Special Court which also comprises Justice Tahira Safdar of Balochistan High Court and Justice Yawar Ali of Lahore High Court, said in the last hearing they had summoned Musharraf to appear before the court and record statement under 342 of CrPc.

The court also directed Lt-General Rashid Qureshi to file statement in two weeks regarding confiscation of surety worth Rs 2.5 million if the former army chief did not appear on next date of hearing.

According to the surety bond furnished by Lt-Gen Rashid Qureshi, Musharraf had given an undertaking that the ex-COAS would appear on each date and, in case of default, the surety could be forfeited.

Justice Alam asked the chief prosecutor if the authorities concerned were not aware that this court had summoned the accused on March 8 for recording his statement.

The judge asked Chaudhry Faisal Hussain, one of the defence counsels, who had been actively involved in the case since the beginning and also appeared before the top court why he did not inform the authorities concerned that the Special Court had summoned Musharraf on March 31.

Ch Faisal argued that under no law he had authority to regulate the custody of his client, adding he can only advise him. The lawyer said he performed his duty according to the law and conveyed the order to Musharraf verbally.

Akram Sheikh, chief prosecutor, said he had conveyed the Special Court’s order to the authorities. He said the apex court did not preclude the federation and the Special Court from passing any legal order for regulating his custody and restricting his movement.

In January 2014, the Joint Investigation Team had also suggested that Musharraf’s name be placed on ECL as he was facing a trial of criminal case which entailed capital punishment.

Akram Sheikh said four orders had been issued for the appearance of the ex-COAS before this court. He said the accused and the surety had given undertaking that Musharraf would appear on each date of hearing and in case of default the surety worth Rs 2.5 million would be forfeited.

The chief prosecutor said this court had various options –to forfeit the surety, cancel the bail or issue an order for his forced appearance through red warrants. He said the controversy of ECL should not be mixed up with this case. He requested the court to decide the case earliest as it was started in December 2013. He asked the court to record the statement of the accused through video link or Skype.

Interior Secretary Arif Khan who was summoned during the proceedings told the court that Musharraf was allowed to go abroad for medical treatment and that he would come back.

Justice Alam asked him whether the federation was serious to prosecute the accused. The secretary said the federation wanted speedy prosecution of the case, adding Musharraf would come back and face the trial not only before the Special Court but also other courts.

Akram Sheikh said the prosecution had concluded his case in September 2014 and now the defence was to present its case.

Ahmed Raza Kasuri, another counsel for Musharraf, submitted an application for exemption, besides seeking adjournment of the case for 14 weeks.

The court asked him to ensure Musharraf’s presence on next date. However, Kasuri said: “We can discuss it if the complainant (federation) has any objection to Musharraf’s travelling abroad.” He said: “When husband and wife are willing, what can Qazi (judge) do?”

Talking to media persons, Kasuri said in this case “Musharraf is husband and federation is wife.” He would convey this order to Musharraf, Kasuri said, adding he had no authority to direct him except giving advice. He further said besides being an advocate, he was also a politician. “I have seen many cases like it; when a government changes, such cases are seen nowhere. I hope this case has concluded,” he added.

The court, directing the interior secretary and Lt-Gen Rashid to file statements in two weeks, adjourned the case till April 19.