Pervez Musharraf may be shifted abroad for treatment

Islamabad, Jan 2 : Former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf, who was taken to a hospital Thursday while he was on his way to a court to face treason charges, may be shifted abroad for treatment, media here reported.

The option of shifting Musharraf, who suffered a "heart problem", abroad for treatment was under consideration, The News International reported citing unnamed sources.

The report cited the sources as saying that the decision on whether to send the former president abroad or treat him in Pakistan itself would be taken only after the release of his medical report.

Musharraf's wife, Begum Sehba Mashiba, reached the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology (AFIC) in Rawalpindi where he was admitted, and his daughter too has been called from Karachi.

Meanwhile, the former president's international spokesman Raza Bokhari said that he was conscious and oriented in time and space.

"Musharraf was admitted in a military hospital," Xinhua cited Bokhari as saying in a brief statement on social media.

"We can confirm that Former President Musharraf is admitted in a military hospital in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. He is conscious, oriented in time and space and is being examined by Pakistani military doctors," he stated.

Ahmed Reza Kasuri, a defence lawyer for Musharraf, told reporters in Islamabad that his client wanted to come to the court but his health deteriorated suddenly and was rushed to the AFIC in Rawalpindi.

Justice Faisal Arab, who heads the three-member special court, had ordered the former president to appear Thursday.

The judge later adjourned the hearing until Monday but said the court would issue an verdict on the appearance of Musharraf.

Hospital sources said that the doctors had carried out some medical tests of the former president and the results would later be shared with the media.

Musharraf's name is still on the list of those persons who cannot go abroad without the government's permission. A court had already turned down his request to remove his name from the Exit Control List and advised him to approach the government.

Musharraf's lawyers had earlier sought exemption of their client from the court's appearance until Monday. However the judge insisted that he should be produced at any cost.

Musharraf had failed Wednesday for the second time in 10 days to appear before the three-member bench and the court adjourned the proceedings for a day.

The government had initiated treason charges against the former military president for suspending, subverting and abrogating the Constitution, imposing an emergency in the country in November 2007 and detaining judges of the superior courts. Legal experts say the charges carry death penalty or life imprisonment.

The defence lawyers had requested the court to delay the hearing by five weeks but their request was turned down.

They had earlier tried to stop the trial on the plea that the special court had no power to try a former army chief and that a military court can try him under the army act.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had announced in June the high treason case against the former military ruler would be initiated for suspending the constitution.

Musharraf had taken over in a bloodless coup when he had dismissed the government of Nawaz Sharif in 1999.

The 70-year-old former army chief currently lives in his farmhouse in Islamabad after getting bail in three high profile cases, including the 2007 assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

Musharraf, who had resigned in 2008 and gone into exile, returned to Pakistan in March this year to take part in parliamentary elections. However, a court disqualified him from standing in the May elections.

--IANS (Posted on 02-01-2014)

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