ISLAMABAD (TIP): Ex-Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf on Tuesday appeared before a special court constituted to hear the treason case against him for the first time since it was constituted late last year.
He had repeatedly missed hearings citing security and health reasons since December 24. Musharraf was widely expected to be indicted. Instead, justice Faisal Arab-led three-member bench issued a short order stating he would face indictment upon his second appearance before the court. “He would soon be ordered to appear in court again,” the order said.
The ex-army chief’s lawyers argued their client should not be charged until the legality of the special court to hear the case is decided. “A decision about whether Musharraf should be tried by a military or a civilian court will be made on February 21,” said Ahmed Raza Kasuri, one of Musharraf’s lawyers.
Earlier, the 70-year-old ex-president was brought to the court from a military hospital in Rawalpindi in a heavilyprotected convoy. He sat in witness box and stood briefly when addressed by the judge. But Musharraf did not speak. When Justice Arab asked him how he was feeling, he replied with a smile on his face that he was “good”.
He remained in the court for 20 minutes and was taken back to the hospital, where he was admitted on January 3 after complaining of chest pain while traveling to the court for hearing. The trial against Musharraf is related to his suspension, abrogation and subversion of the constitution after imposition of emergency rule in November 2007.
He is Pakistan’s first military ruler facing treason charges in a civilian court. The conviction in the case carries a possible death sentence or life imprisonment. Since his return from self-imposed exile in March 2013, Musharraf has faced several other criminal cases dating back to his days in office.