Musharraf treason court to consider medical report


In this photograph taken on December 29, 2013, former Pakistani leader Pervez Musharraf addresses foreign media at his farmhouse in Islamabad. Photo - AFP file

A special court set up to try Pakistan's former ruler Pervez Musharraf for treason adjourned Tuesday to consider a medical report on his heart complaint.

The 70-year-old was rushed to the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology in Rawalpindi, which borders Islamabad, on his way to the tribunal last week.

The court adjourned the hearing until Wednesday to allow time to assess the doctors' report and said defence and prosecution teams would receive copies.

Musharraf's camp 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 tribunal.

Judge Faisal Arab, who heads the three-member bench, told the court Tuesday: "We will give an opportunity to both sides to examine (the report) and then we will decide accordingly."

Ahmad Raza Kasuri, a lawyer for Musharraf, told reporters that owing to the complexity of the medical issues the matter could only be debated once both sides had been given time to assess the report.

Musharraf's sudden health scare was met with scepticism by some observers, and media speculation that his departure as part of a face-saving deal to avert a civil-military clash could be imminent.

Rumours have circulated for months that a backroom deal would be struck to whisk him overseas, possibly to Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates, to avoid a destabilising clash between the government, which brought the charges, and the powerful armed forces.

But the former commando has previously insisted he wants to stay and fight the charges.

Asked whether there was any truth in speculation about Saudi Arabia and Pakistan negotiating Musharraf's departure, Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal said: "Absolutely not."

The minister, currently on a visit to Pakistan, said Riyadh had a principle of "non-interference in the internal affairs of any country and especially a friendly country".

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.

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