RAWALPINDI: Doctors will decide whether Pakistan’s former military ruler Pervez Musharraf must go abroad for treatment after suffering a heart problem on the way to his treason trial, his lawyer said yesterday.
The 70-year-old was taken ill and rushed to a military hospital on Thursday as he was being transported under heavy guard to hear treason charges against him at a special tribunal in Islamabad.
He spent a second day in the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology in Rawalpindi, the garrison city bordering Islamabad, yesterday and his lawyer Ahmed Raza Kasuri told reporters he was in a stable condition in the intensive care unit.
The sudden health scare was met with scepticism from some observers and feverish media speculation that his departure from Pakistan on medical grounds could be imminent.
He is the first Pakistani army chief to go on trial and there have been rumours for months that he would be spirited out of the country before facing the courts, to head off a potentially destabilising clash between the government and the all-powerful military. Musharraf, who faces a number of criminal cases dating back to his 1999-2008 rule, is under a travel ban and ministers have repeatedly said they will not lift it.
Asked about the possibility of Musharraf going abroad for medical treatment, Kasuri said: “Doctors’ opinion will be final and the court is bound to follow it.”
Kasuri said Musharraf’s legal team expected to receive a report on his condition before the next court hearing on Monday.
“No one can challenge the doctors’ report -- if the doctors advise to take him abroad for medical treatment then the doctors’ opinion will be carried out,” he said.
The former commando, who ousted current Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a bloodless coup in 1999, is in a stable condition and is out of danger, Kasuri said.
“He is under stress, he is under pressure, but it is natural,” Kasuri said, adding that Musharraf had felt humiliated by his treatment.
Musharraf’s team says the treason allegations, which relate to his imposition of emergency rule in November 2007, are politically motivated and his lawyers have challenged the authority of the three-judge tribunal.
They have accused Prime Minister Sharif and his government of trying to settle old scores through the courts.
Aside from the treason allegations, former military ruler Pervez Musharraf also faces trial over the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, the death of a rebel leader, a deadly raid on a radical mosque and the detention of judges.