Practice Relating to Rule 100. Fair Trial Guarantees
Section I. Presence of the accused at the trial
Pakistan’s Anti-Terrorism Act (1997) states:
(10) Any accused person may be tried in his absence if the Anti-Terrorism Court, after such inquiry as it deems fit, is satisfied that such absence is deliberate and brought about with a view to impeding the course of justice:
Provided that the accused person shall not be tried under this subsection unless a proclamation has been published in respect of him in at least three national daily newspapers out of which one shall be in the Urdu language requiring him to appear at a specified place within seven days failing which action may also be taken against him under section 88 of the Code:
Provided further that the Special Court will proceed with the trial after taking the necessary steps to appoint an advocate to defend the accused person who is not before the Court.
Explanation – An accused who is tried in his absence under sub-section (10) shall be deemed not to have admitted the commission of any offence for which he has been charged.
(11) The advocate appointed under the second proviso to sub-section (10) shall be a person selected by Anti-Terrorism Court for the purpose and he shall be engaged at the expense of the Government.
(11-A) Nothing contained in sub-section (10) or (11) shall be construed to deny the accused the right to consult or be defended by a legal practitioner of his own choice.
(12) If, within sixty days from the date of his conviction, any person tried under subsection (10) appears voluntarily, or is apprehended and brought before Anti-Terrorism Court and proves to its satisfaction that he did not abscond or conceal himself for the purpose of avoiding the proceeding against him, the Anti-Terrorism court shall set aside his conviction and proceed to try him in accordance with law for the offence with which he is charged:
Provided that the Anti-Terrorism Court may exercise its powers under this sub-section in a case in which a person as aforesaid appears before it after the expiration of the said period and satisfies it that he could not appear within the said period by reason of circumstances beyond his control.