Islamabad: After analysing his medical report, the special court conducting Pervez Musharraf’s treason trial today summoned him on January 16 and hinted it may act against the embattled former dictator if he does not appear before it.
The three judges of the special court, formed to try 70-year-old Musharraf on charges of high treason for imposing emergency in 2007, issued the order after a careful review of his medical report.
Summoning him on January 16, the court said an “appropriate order” would be issued if Musharraf fails to appear on that date.
Musharraf was admitted to a military hospital in Rawalpindi on January 2 when he suffered heart problems while being driven to court. He had skipped two earlier hearings after explosives were found near his house.
The special court said no written request for exemption from hearings had been received from Musharraf’s counsel.
The judges had earlier reserved their verdict after prosecution and defence lawyers concluded their arguments on Musharraf’s health condition.
During today’s hearing, prosecutor Akram Sheikh said Musharraf’s medical report did not mention any condition that justified his skipping hearings of the treason trial.
He said the former army chief has not undergone even an angiography since he was admitted to hospital and this proves his condition is not serious.
Sheikh claimed Musharraf’s blood pressure was like that of a sportsman while the condition of his heart was “equal to that of a 18-year-old”.
Musharraf’s lawyer Ahmed Raza Kasuri said the former President needs more time to rest and recover. He said Musharraf’s health condition is “serious”.
“The hospital will of course not expel its patient. It is Musharraf’s prerogative whether to check out or not,” he told reporters outside the special court.
Pakistan has many good medical centres and there is no need to send Musharraf abroad for treatment.
Musharraf is currently barred from travelling abroad but there has been widespread speculation that authorities could use his medical condition to allow him to leave Pakistan for medical treatment.
He is the first general to face trial for treason in Pakistan’s history and if he is convicted, he could be given life imprisonment or the death penalty.
Applauding former President Asif Ali Zardari for appearing in an anti-corruption court to hear charges against him today, Sheikh said it was sad to see a former head of the army “run away from trial”.
Kasuri criticised the media getting access to Musharraf’s medical report and called it a “privacy breach”.
Musharraf’s counsel Ilyas Siddiqui presented the former military strongman’s medical report in court with a list of people who had received medical treatment abroad at state expense.
The special court had on Tuesday exempted Musharraf from hearings for two days after his medical report was submitted by the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology.
During today’s hearing, Anwar Mansoor Khan, another counsel for Musharraf, told the court that he was threatened to give up the case last night while his driver was “tortured” in Karachi.
He said he had provided the number from which the threatening call was made to the police chiefs of Sindh and Islamabad while an FIR had been registered.
The court made it clear that it would not tolerate such acts and would direct authorities to provide security to the prosecutor and defence lawyers.
Court summons Musharraf on Jan 16 to face treason charges