Musharraf appears before special court, not indicted

ISLAMABAD: Former military dictator General (Retd) Pervez Musharraf appeared before the Special Court on Tuesday for the first time to face charges in a high-treason case. The 70-year-old arrived for the hearing at the National Library in Islamabad in a heavily protected convoy.

But he was not indicted during the hearing as the special court will announce verdict regarding its jurisdiction on Friday.

Musharraf stood up when the judge entered and gave him a small wave but did not speak.

Justice Faisal Arab, who heads the special jury comprising of three judges, did not charge Musharraf and said he would first examine challenges raised by the defense lawyers.

The court is inclined to first decide about its jurisdiction if the court decided that the jurisdiction is valid, the accused can be called again, Justice Arab said.

Later, the court reserved its verdict on the plea seeking Musharraf s trial under Army Act till Friday.

General (Retd) Pervez Musharraf is facing high-treason charges, which can carry the death penalty, over his suspension of the constitution and imposition of a state of emergency in 2007 while he was president.

He was first ordered before the tribunal on December 24 but had missed repeated hearings since then due to bomb scares and health issues that saw him complain of a heart problem.

Musharraf has accused Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who he ousted in a 1999 coup, of carrying out a “vendetta” and has asked for permission to go abroad for medical treatment, which has been refused.

Nawaz Sharif came to power after elections May 2013 general elections in the first transfer of power from one elected government to another after a full term.

Since his return to Pakistan in March 2013, Pervez Musharraf is facing a worst time on an ill-fated mission to run in the general election. Almost as soon as he landed, he was barred from contesting the vote and hit with a barrage of legal cases dating back to his 1999-2008 rule.

The charges against him include the murder of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in December 2007.