Tuesday, January 7, 2014
ISLAMABAD (AP) — A Pakistani court trying Gen. Pervez Musharraf on charges of high treason Tuesday said it would examine a medical report on his condition to decide whether the former president can be excused from hearings while he remains in hospital.
The court said it would rule on the matter in two days.
Musharraf remains at the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology in Rawalpindi, where he was taken last Thursday after suffering what was described as a "heart problem" while on his way to court.
Musharraf returned to Pakistan almost a year ago hoping to take part in the country's upcoming election but immediately plunged into extensive legal problems relating to his near decade in power. The 70-year-old took power in a coup in 1999 and ruled the country until he was forced to step down in 2008 when he became deeply unpopular.
The high treason case relates to his 2007 decision to impose a state of emergency and detain a number of judges including the country's chief justice. The move backfired, leading to widespread protests by the country's lawyers against his rule.
Musharraf's rush to the hospital triggered suggestions that he was trying to avoid the embarrassment of appearing in a civilian court. The prosecutor in the case, Akram Shaikh, told the court he doubts Musharraf is ill and accused the former ruler of trying to evade appearing in court.
A lawyer for Musharraf said Tuesday that he had received a copy of the medical report which suggested Musharraf was suffering from blockage of his arteries and a vertebra problem.
The lawyer, Ahmad Qasuri, said it would now be up to the court to take a decision on how to proceed with the case considering Musharraf's health issues.
A copy of the report seen by The Associated Press said Musharraf came to the hospital with "uneasiness in the chest, sweating and discomfort in the left arm." The report said Musharraf suffered from "Triple Vessel Coronary Artery Disease" and that his father had died from coronary artery disease.
Musharraf missed two earlier hearings in his case because of bomb threats, and there has been rampant speculation in the media that he would be evacuated from the country under medical pretense.