ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s former leader Pervez Musharraf was due in court Thursday to face treason charges, but instead was rushed to a military hospital with complaints of heart trouble.
The high treason trial of former president and army chief Pervez Musharraf was halted until Monday at a three-member special court in Islamabad.
Prosecutors said his presence is required for a possible indictment and a judicial order binds Musharraf to appear.
The 70-year-old former military strongman has already missed two opening sessions citing security concerns, including a bomb scare.
Defense lawyer Ahmad Raza Kasuri said a medical emergency prevented Musharraf from appearing in court on Thursday.
“While he was in the process of moving towards the court he had some sudden ailment and for that he was immediately, instead of bringing him here [in the court], shifted to Armed Services Institute of Cardiology [a military-run hospital],” he said. “So he is now admitted there.”
The military hospital treating Musharraf is located in the nearby city of Rawalpindi, where the powerful military is headquartered.
Musharraf was the army chief in 1999 when he seized power in a coup by deposing Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who has now returned to office. He later declared himself president to rule the country and stepped down in 2008 before leaving Pakistan in self-imposed exile.
The treason charges against Musharraf stem from his last days in office 2007 when he imposed emergency rule in the country and dismissed dozens of judges in a bid to cling to power.
During Thursday’s legal proceedings defense lawyer Anwar Mansoor again questioned the integrity of the court and the legal process.
Speaking to VOA, Mansoor alleged the government has intentionally ignored certain constitutional requirements while pursuing the treason case and appointing prosecutors.
“It was more of vengeance rather than anything else I think,” he said. “My view of the matter is that because Nawaz Sharif was aggrieved by Pervez Musharraf and because he (Sharif) was asked to go (abroad in exile), because he was convicted. Therefore, he now he wants probably the same action to repeat it as far as General Musharraf is concerned and nothing more than that.”
Sharif and his Cabinet ministers deny allegations of political vendetta.
Pakistani courts under the Musharraf regime had tried and convicted Sharif of treason. He was later pardoned and exiled to Saudi Arabia under a deal with the military leader not to return to take part in Pakistani politics.