Ailing Musharraf will not appear in treason court: lawyer

Published January 5, 2014
Ahmed Raza Kasuri, one of the lawyers of Pakistan's former military ruler Pervez Musharraf, (C) joins supporters in prayer outside the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology in Rawalpindi on January 3, 2014, where Musharraf is being treated. — Photo by AFP
Ahmed Raza Kasuri, one of the lawyers of Pakistan's former military ruler Pervez Musharraf, (C) joins supporters in prayer outside the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology in Rawalpindi on January 3, 2014, where Musharraf is being treated. — Photo by AFP

ISLAMABAD: A lawyer representing former military ruler Pervez Musharraf said Sunday the former president would not make a scheduled appearance at his treason trial on Monday because of an ongoing illness.

The 70-year-old was rushed to a military hospital on Thursday after developing what a police official called a “heart problem” while being taken to hear treason charges against him at a special tribunal in Islamabad.

Musharraf's team says the treason allegations, which relate to his imposition of emergency rule in November 2007, are politically motivated and his lawyers have challenged the authority of the three-judge tribunal.

“Everyone is aware of his sickness. The whole world knows that he is in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) and the court also knows that,” lawyer Ahmed Raza Kasuri told AFP by telephone.

“We just have to make an oral request in the court that since he is not well, his presence should be dispensed with,” Kasuri said.

The ex-dictator spent his fourth day in the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology in Rawalpindi, the garrison city bordering Islamabad, on Sunday.

The court had adjourned its proceedings Thursday and summoned Musharraf to appear on Monday, but Kasuri said he hoped it would now “exempt his personal presence”.

“The court is not making a special concession to Musharraf. It is according to the law. Human life is over and above justice,” Kasuri added.

Doctors treating Musharraf had sent his medical reports to experts in Britain, Kasuri told AFP on Saturday, to determine his further treatment at home or abroad.

The ex-dictator's sudden health scare was met with scepticism from some observers and feverish media speculation that his departure from Pakistan on medical grounds, possibly to either Saudi Arabia or the UAE, could be imminent.

Some analysts believe such a move is necessary to head off a potentially destabilising clash between the government and the all-powerful military.

Moreover, following the 'heart problem' leaders of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) issued statements against Gen Musharraf while the Muttahida Qaumi Moverment came up in support of the former president

Siddiq-ul-Farooq, a spokesman for the ruling PML-N denied a deal was in the offing but added the government would follow the court's ruling.

“We neither wish to settle scores nor give any undue concession,” he told AFP. “No foreign pressure will be entertained: let the law take its course. If the court allows Musharraf to travel abroad for medical reasons then we will not try to stop it.”

Former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf is being prosecuted under Article 6 of the Constitution for imposing an emergency in the country on Nov 3, 2007 and for detaining members of the superior judiciary.

Aside from the treason allegations, Musharraf also faces trial over the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, the death of a rebel leader, a deadly raid on a radical mosque and the detention of judges.

Opinion

Editorial

Not without reform
Updated 22 Apr, 2024

Not without reform

The problem with us is that our ruling elite is still trying to find a way around the tough reforms that will hit their privileges.
Raisi’s visit
22 Apr, 2024

Raisi’s visit

IRANIAN President Ebrahim Raisi, who begins his three-day trip to Pakistan today, will be visiting the country ...
Janus-faced
22 Apr, 2024

Janus-faced

THE US has done it again. While officially insisting it is committed to a peaceful resolution to the...
Elections in India
Updated 21 Apr, 2024

Elections in India

Independent accounts and spot reports are at variance with Modi-friendly TV anchors and they do not see an easy victory for the Indian premier.
IHC letter
21 Apr, 2024

IHC letter

THIS is a historic opportunity for the judiciary to define its institutional boundaries. It must not be squandered....
Olympic preparations
21 Apr, 2024

Olympic preparations

THIS past week marked the beginning of the 100-day countdown to the Paris Olympics, with the symbolic torch-lighting...