ISLAMABAD - Rejecting the request of former president Pervez Musharraf to adjourn the case against him for subverting and suspending the Constitution till May 20, the Supreme Court on Tuesday adjourned the hearing till May 15.

Ahmed Raza Kasuri, appearing on behalf of Pervez Musharraf, pleaded that the court notice was received late last night. He argued a sufficient time was required to contest this case as very significant questions of law were involved and a lot of files would have to be examined. He said: “Pervez Musharraf is busy campaigning for the election and approaching the people,” he said and added the litigation would prevent him from approaching the people, so the case be adjourned till May 20 to meet the ends of justice.

A section officer from the Ministry of Interior submitted a report regarding placing Musharraf’s name on ECL. No one appeared on behalf of the federation and the Sindh government which are parties to the SHCBA case. Ibrahim Satti represented Sharifud Din Pirzada and Barrister Ahmed Qayyum appeared on behalf of former attorney general Malik Qayyum.

A two-member bench, comprising Justice Jawwad S Khawaja and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain, rejected the request, saying personal appearance of Musharraf was not required, so there was no need to contend that the ex-COAS was being prevented from engaging in election activities.

The written order stated: “During the hearing on Monday (yesterday) a request was made to take Musharraf into custody, but the prayer was rejected to give him an opportunity in accordance with the law.”

The court further said Musharraf landed in Pakistan on March 24 and during these 15 days no order preventing the former president from engaging in political activities was passed.

Kasuri argued Chief of Army Staff Ashfaq Parvez Kayani was also a member of the team that issued the PCO, but the apex court did not issue a notice to him in this case. Justice Jawwad said they had issued notices to the respondents.

The counsel contended that if the case was heard, a Pandora box would open and names of some bigwigs would come into limelight. Justice Jawwad said: “Let these things happen. We will ensure that justice is not only done, but it is seen to be done.”

Justice Khilji said many commissions were constituted on important issues, but their findings were not made public. He said at sometimes things had to be decided in accordance with the Constitution and law. “If you are able to prove that the allegations are wrong, it’s fine otherwise we will pass an appropriate order on the petitions,” the judge remarked.

Kasuri contended that all tactics were being employed to prevent Musharraf from reaching the people of Pakistan, so the court should adjourn the case for six weeks. He said, “What is unholy hurry in the case?” Justice Jawwad answered there was no unholy hurry or haste as the SC and the SHC had given a clear finding in the SHCBA case in 2009, adding four years had passed, but nothing had happened so far.

The court said: “The matter looks straightforward enough, but to meet the ends of justice, the hearing is adjourned till April 15.” The respondents, including Sharif-ud-Din Pirzada and former AGP Malik Qayyum, were also directed to obtain the copies of the petitions and other documents from the SC office.