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Musharraf Rushed To Hospital

by AFP and Newsweek Pakistan
Islamabad, Dec. 29. Farooq Naeem—AFP

Islamabad, Dec. 29. Farooq Naeem—AFP

Musharraf undergoing cardiology tests in Rawalpindi.

Pervez Musharraf failed to appear before a special tribunal on Thursday for the third time.

Pakistan’s former president and Army chief set out from his Islamabad house for the indictment hearing, but his convoy was rerouted to the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology in Rawalpindi instead. Musharraf’s aides say the former general may have developed heart trouble.

Musharraf is to be tried for treason—a crime punishable by death—for sacking some 60 judges, including the country’s then-chief justice, on Nov. 3, 2007. Musharraf was unable to show up before the special tribunal on two previous occasions after explosives were discovered along the route his convoy had been assigned. The defense minister, Khawaja Asif, who was among those jailed by Musharraf following the 1999 coup, has accused Musharraf’s supporters of “planting” “fake explosives” to save the former president.

The tribunal had demanded Musharraf appear today or risk arrest. The prosecutor, Akram Sheikh, accused Musharraf of feigning illness to avoid the proceedings.

Earlier in the day, Musharraf’s legal team accused the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif—the man Musharraf had ousted and jailed on Oct. 12, 1999—of threatening them.

“I was under total threat … from 1 a.m. to 5 in the morning. Someone was banging on my door and ringing my bell,” lawyer Anwar Mansoor Khan told the tribunal. When asked who was threatening him, Khan said: “This very government.” Yesterday, Khan had told the tribunal his car was attacked while traveling to Lahore following an earlier hearing.

Sharifuddin Pirzada, another of Musharraf’s lawyers, made similar allegations. Musharraf’s lawyers walked out of Thursday’s proceedings to mark protest against their apparent harassment.

On Sunday, Musharraf denounced the treason case as a “vendetta” against him and said he had the backing of the military.

UPDATE: Musharraf is still in the intensive-care unit, but out of danger, according to his doctors.

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