Treason trial: Musharraf given exemption from appearance

Islamabad, Jan 6 : A special court here granted exemption to former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf from appearing in Monday's hearing of the high treason trial against him.

Adjourning the hearing till Tuesday, the court also ordered Musharraf's medical reports to be submitted before it, Dawn reported.

Justice Faisal Arab-led three-member bench Monday resumed the hearing of the high treason trial against Musharraf, who has been charged by the government with abrogating, subverting, suspending, holding in abeyance and attempting to conspire against the 1973 Constitution by declaring Emergency and detaining judges of the superior courts.

The court asked Musharraf's counsel to submit the statement regarding his absence from the hearing.

Musharraf's lawyer Anwer Mansoor said he was not able to meet his client and had no information regarding his absence.

Musharraf's health condition was known to all and that he would not be able to attend the hearing, he added.

On Sunday, Musharraf's counsel said his client was ill and would not appear before the court Monday.

The special court warned Jan 1 that it could issue an arrest warrant for the former military chief in case he failed to appear before it again Jan 2, after Musharraf did not turn up for hearing the second time in 10 days.

But Musharraf was moved to a hospital on his way to court Jan 2 as he suffered a "heart problem".

The government announced its decision to formally prosecute the former army chief for high treason Nov 17.

Earlier Monday, the Islamabad High Court rejected a petition seeking to restrain Musharraf from travelling abroad for medical treatment.

Musharraf seized power in 1999 in a bloodless coup and was president from 2001 to 2008, when he stepped down and went in self-exile to live in London. He returned to Islamabad in March 2013 to contest in parliamentary elections.

However, a court disqualified him from standing in the May 2013 general elections, which his bete noire, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif - the man he had deposed - won.

Musharraf has been granted bail in four major cases, including that of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto's assassination.

Meanwhile, Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Syed Khurshid Shah Monday called for holding accountable all those people, who supported Musharraf, saying punishment to an individual would not be acceptable for the world.

He said the Oct 12, 1999 toppling of the Nawaz-government was a bigger crime than the Nov 3 proclamation of emergency.

Former chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry also endorsed Musharraf's illegal ouster of the civilian government in 1999 and he should stand trial, Shah added.

--IANS (Posted on 06-01-2014)

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