Musharraf can't claim constitutional immunity in Benazir assassination case: Pak jurists

Lahore, Feb 16(ANI): No parallel can be drawn between Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari and former military ruler Pervez Musharraf, as the latter is not a sitting president, noted jurists have observed.

They were of the view that a top All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) leader's 'constitutional immunity for Musharraf' claim was just a political gimmick to create confusion and absolve the dictator of his abetment in Benazir's assassination.

Last Saturday, a Pakistani Anti-Terrorism Court issued an arrest warrant against Musharraf, ordering him to appear for a hearing on February 19 in the Benazir Bhutto assassination case.

Former Law Minister Dr Khalid Ranjha said that the provision of constitutional immunity against being prosecuted in a criminal case was available only to a sitting President, which Musharraf was not.

"The statement of [APML leader] Niazi is merely a political one," The Nation quoted Ranjha, as saying.

Former Deputy Attorney General Raja Abdul Rahman also subscribed to the point of view that no immunity cover was available to Musharraf at present, and that even if he had to say something in defence or had to get any concession in the case, he must first surrender himself before the court as an accused, as arrest warrants had already been issued against him.

Former judge and expert on criminal law, Ehtesham Qadir Shah, said that if the warrants against Musharraf remain unexecuted owing to his non-availability, the proclamation under Section 87 C would be issued against him and no trial would start against the former president until he was arrested.

Former Lahore Bar Association President and lawyer on criminal side, Manzoor Qadir, said that if Musharraf failed to appear in the court, his extradition might be sought through Interpol, provided Pakistan has an extradition treaty with the country where he is residing.

It is noteworthy that Musharraf is currently living in a self-imposed exile in London. (ANI)

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