Rawalpindi - Former military dictator and accused of Benazir Bhutto’s murder, General (Retd) Pervez Musharraf has filed a petition with anti-terrorism court yesterday challenging the statement of US author Mark Siegel.

Siegel in his statement recorded through video link has said that Musharraf had hurled threats at Benazir Bhutto on phone call while she was making her mind to return to Pakistan.

While accepting the petition, Special Judge Anti-Terrorism Court Rai Muhammad Ayub Marth issued notices to Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and adjourned hearing till November 11, 2015.

Musharraf in the petition filed through Barrister Faroogh Naseem stated that the testimony of Mark Siegel was recorded in violation of section 353 of Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) which ensured the personal presence of any witness in the court in any criminal case. He said that no statement via video link could be recorded. He stated that no judicial officer was present while Mark Siegel testified.

He added the status of Mark Siegel was yet not clear as for whom he was doing job. The petitioner also objected the presence of Farooq H Naik in Pakistani Embassy during recording of statement of the ‘US lobbyist’ in the BB murder case.

The petitioner maintained that Siegel’s testimony lacked transparency and pleaded the court to declare it unlawful.

The court accepted the plea for hearing and issued notices to FIA, besides cancelling the cross-examination of Siegel.

The court adjourned hearing in the high-profile case till November 11.

Talking to The Nation, Barrister Faroogh Naseem confirmed the development saying no body can be allowed to violate the law. He said that the statement of Siegel was unlawful as per section 353 of CrPC.

Siegel, the US author, lobbyist and close friend of Benazir, had recorded his statement before ATC via video link from Washington on October 1. He had said that Musharraf made a phone call on cell phone of BB and threatened her of dire consequences if she returned to Pakistan after ending her self-claimed exile.

On Oct 1 Siegel had recorded his statement before an ATC , where he had connected Gen Musharraf with Ms Bhutto’s murder. He accused him of deliberately depriving Bhutto of the security detail, despite imminent threats to her life.

He also claimed that Gen Musharraf rejected Pakistan People’s Party’s (PPP) request to bring foreign security personnel with Bhutto and the request for vehicles with tinted glass.

Musharraf had earlier rejected Siegel’s allegations. “I strongly and unequivocally reject the claim of Mark Siegel, a close adviser, paid lobbyist and co-author of the last book of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto,” he had said in a statement. I am shocked and amazed at Mr Siegel’s assertion that I made a threatening phone call to Ms Bhutto. This claim is entirely false, fictitious and appears to be wilfully fabricated.”

Mark Siegel is the fourth prosecution witness against Gen Musharraf. Two witnesses, former interior secretary Kamal Shah and the former National Crisis Management Cell director general did not support the prosecution’s case. The third witness, former Intelligence Bureau Director General Ejaz Shah, was dropped by the prosecution.