ISLAMABAD: Lawyers for former Pakistani military ruler Pervez Musharraf yesterday told a local court hearing treason charges against him that the retired general needed medical treatment in the United States.
A bomb disposal squad member uses a metal detector outside a special court set up to try Pervez Musharraf, prior to the start of a hearing in Islamabad yesterday.
Musharraf is currently in a military hospital with a heart condition, after falling ill while travelling to the special treason tribunal on January 2.
The 70-year-old has yet to appear in person before the three-judge panel and speculation is rife that he will escape trial by leaving the country for treatment.
“We have attached a letter with the documents from the doctors of a heart clinic in Texas and they have recommended that he should be shifted to that clinic for further treatment,” lawyer Mansoor Ali Khan told the tribunal.
Doctors at the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology, where Musharraf is being treated, have diagnosed him with coronary artery disease and his lawyers have suggested he should be treated abroad.
In a written ruling, the court ordered a special medical board to be set up to examine Musharraf’s condition and submit a report on January 24. The case was adjourned today.
There have been rumours for months that a deal would be struck to get Musharraf out of the country before the trial’s completion to avoid a destabilising clash between the government and the powerful armed forces.
But he remains under a travel ban which government ministers have repeatedly said they will not lift. Musharraf himself has said he wants to fight and clear his name.
The court had ordered him to appear in person yesterday, after considering a medical report on his heart complaint.
But Khan said the former commando would not come to court before a ruling on defence objections over the jurisdiction and impartiality of the tribunal.
Musharraf’s camp says the treason allegations, which relate to his imposition of emergency rule in November 2007, are politically motivated.
Aside from the treason allegations, 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.