Tribunal judge accepts request for former president to be excused from upcoming Feb. 10 hearing.
A court trying former president Pervez Musharraf for treason on Friday ordered him to appear on Feb. 18, the latest postponement in the long-delayed case.
The 70-year-old is facing treason charges, which can carry the death penalty, over his imposition of a state of emergency in 2007 while he was president. He was first ordered before the tribunal on Dec. 24 but has yet to put in an appearance, with bomb scares and health problems keeping him away.
The former general has been in a military hospital since falling ill with heart trouble while traveling to court on Jan. 2. On Jan. 31 the court refused to grant him permission to go abroad for medical treatment and ordered him to appear on Friday. But at Friday’s hearing Judge Faisal Arab accepted a request from Musharraf’s lawyers that he be excused until Feb. 18. The next hearing in the case will be on Feb. 10, but Musharraf is not required to attend.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was the man Musharraf ousted from power in his 1999 coup, and his lawyers have said the treason case is an attempt to settle old scores through the courts. They have also challenged the civilian court’s right to try a former Army chief, saying he is entitled to be dealt with by a military tribunal.
Security analyst Talat Masood, himself a former general, said Musharraf’s failure to answer the court’s call was degrading. “He is giving an impression that he is defying law of the land and he is trying to run away from the rule of law,” he said. “This is not a gentlemanly behavior. His conduct should be more of an officer and a gentleman than a defiant person.”