Free Press Journal

Musharraf wants to undergo treatment abroad: Report


Islamabad: Former dictator Pervez Musharraf has refused to undergo an angiography in Pakistan and wants to go abroad for treatment, media reports today quoted a medical board as saying in a report submitted to a special court.

Though the board’s report was presented to the court in a sealed cover, details of it were leaked and reported by several news channels. Express News, which said it obtained the report, quoted it as saying that Musharraf’s health is such that a heart attack could be “life-threatening”.

The medical board was set up by the special court, which is conducting Musharraf’s treason trial, to assess the 70-year-old former military ruler’s health condition after he was admitted to hospital on January 2 with heart problems.
The court said the medical board’s report will be subjected to cross-examination on January 29, following which it will announce its decision on Musharraf’s appearance for hearings.

The report stated Musharraf was unwilling to get an angiography done in Pakistan as the cardiac support system in the country is “not up to standard”, Express News reported.

The government’s prosecutor, Akram Sheikh, objected to the findings in the report, which was submitted by the four-member medical board headed by Maj General Syed Imran Majeed.

Musharraf’s lawyer Anwar Mansoor requested the court to keep the report secret. However, the prosecutor said Musharraf is a public figure and the report should be made public. He said the Constitution includes a provision for a free press.
Sheikh demanded that another medical board, comprising  cardiologists of Aga Khan Hospital, PIMS Hospital and Shifa International Hospital, should be formed to review the report.

He further said the report’s findings seemed to imply that all heart patients should be sent abroad for treatment.

Ahmed Raza Kasuri, a key member of Musharraf’s legal team, accused Sheikh of hosting an event for the media to turn them against him. He claimed another medical report on Musharraf had also been made public and was available on the website of a news channel.

The three-judge special court subsequently adjourned proceedings till January 29.

Musharraf faces treason charges for abrogating the Constitution and imposing an emergency in November 2007.

The court had on January 16 ordered the formation of the medical board comprising doctors of the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology, where Musharraf is being treated, to ascertain the condition of the former army chief.

The court asked the board to answer key questions  like whether Musharraf needs surgery or not, and how long it would take for him to recover.

The court issued its order after Musharraf’s legal team submitted a letter written by his US-based doctor, Arjumand Hashmi, who said the former President should be sent to a medical facility in Texas for treatment.

Hashmi, who has treated Musharraf since 2006, said the former President’s medical reports show a significant amount of coronary artery disease, which can cause a heart attack and lead to “significant cardiac mortality if left untreated”.

Musharraf was taken to the military hospital in Rawalpindi on January 2 after he developed heart problems while being driven to the special court.
This is the first time in Pakistan’s history that a former military ruler has been put on trial for treason and Musharraf could face life imprisonment or the death penalty if he is convicted.

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