Musharraf rushed to army hospital with 'heart problem'

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Islamabad, Jan 2: Pakistan's former military dictator Pervez Musharraf was on Thursday rushed to an army hospital after he complained of "heart problem" on his way to a special court to face trial in a high treason case.

Musharraf, 70, was rushed to the Armed Forces Institute for Cardiology, Rawalpindi, after he complained of heart problem on the way to the court, said DIG Jan Mohammad. Musharraf had twice failed to appear before the court after bombs were found on his route. Today he had left his sprawling farmhouse in Chak Shahzad but the long motorcade was diverted to the hospital in midway.

Earlier in the day, high drama was witnessed at the special court where Musharraf's lawyer Anwar Mansoor staged a walk-out, citing a lack of sleep over alleged disturbances outside the door of his residence. "I was under total threat... from 1:00 am to 5 in the morning someone was ringing my bell," Mansoor told the court, adding he had never faced such an incident in his 40-year career.

The court promised to probe but he walked out of court, followed by other members of Musharraf's legal team. Musharraf was supposed to appear before the court to face trial in the high treason case that could put to test the relationship between an assertive civilian government and the powerful army.

Musharraf was rushed to the Armed Forces Institute for Cardiology, Rawalpindi.

The former military ruler is accused of suspending, subverting and abrogating the constitution, imposing an emergency in the country in November 2007 and detaining judges of the superior courts. If convicted, Musharraf could face life imprisonment or the death penalty.

Musharraf's legal team head Sharifuddin Pirzada claimed that chief prosecutor in the case Advocate Akram Shaikh had hurled alleged threats to him via Barrister Ibrahim Satti, who is another counsel for the former president.

The treason hearing against Musharraf resumed amid strict security arrangements from his farmhouse to the court premises and around it.

The security arrangements made over the expected arrival of the former president included mobile phone jammers, at least 1,000 police personnel, deployment of containers to cordon off traffic and bomb scanners.

The court had ordered Musharraf to appear before it today and also warned him of issuing a ruling, in case he fails to appear. His legal team also filed a plea in the special court to exempt him from appearing before till Monday.


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