No more hearing opportunity to Musharraf: Pak SC

The FIA has accused Musharraf of failing to cooperate with investigators probing the assassination.

Islamabad: Pakistan Chief Justice Iftikhar
Chaudhry on Monday said former military ruler Pervez Musharraf, a
"proclaimed offender" in the Benazir Bhutto assassination
case, could not be given another opportunity for further
hearing as he failed to appear before the court and surrender.

Chaudhry made the remarks when a three-judge bench led by
him resumed hearing a petitioned filed by slain former premier
Bhutto`s ex-protocol officer Chaudhry Muhammad Aslam, who has
sought the registration of a second FIR in connection with her
2007 assassination.

A prosecutor from the Federal Investigation Agency
informed the bench that an anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi
had issued a warrant for Musharraf and declared him a
proclaimed offender in a case related to the assassination.

The FIA has accused Musharraf, who has been living outside
Pakistan in self-exile since early 2009, of failing to
cooperate with investigators probing the assassination.

68-year-old Musharraf has also been accused of failing to
provide adequate security to Bhutto, who was killed by a
suicide bomber in Rawalpindi in December 2007.

In its order, the apex court said that, under the law, no
opportunity for further hearing could be provided to Musharraf
as he had opted not to appear in court.

Lawyer Sheheryar Iqbal appeared in response to a notice
from the court and informed the bench that he was not
representing the former President.

The Chief Justice told Iqbal that the anti-terrorism court
had declared Musharraf a fugitive and so he was not entitled
to any hearing.

He indicated that the apex court would dispose of the
matter as the FIA was pursuing the case.

The Chief Justice further said Musharraf should have
appeared in the apex court and surrendered in accordance with
the law.

Raja Aamir Abbas, the counsel for Interior Minister Rehman
Malik, appeared before the bench and requested more time to
present his arguments on behalf of the government.
The bench subsequently adjourned the case till April 16.

In his petition, Aslam had asked the apex court to direct
the authorities to register a second FIR and to name Musharraf
and 12 others as the accused.

Seven suspects, including two senior police officers, are
currently facing trial in an anti-terrorism court for Bhutto`s

The police officers were arrested on charges of negligence
in providing security to Bhutto.