Health problems came to Pervez Musharraf’s rescue in Rawalpindi on Thursday afternoon, as the former Army General managed to avoid yet another court hearing for his treason case due to a heart ailment.
Musharraf, 70, is the first ever Army dictator in the country’s 67-year history who is being tried in a court of law for alleged political crimes he committed during his rule.
Having already missed the previous two hearings due to threats against his life, he was ordered by the special court to appear in today’s hearing at all cost or face legal consequences. He was reportedly on his way to attend the hearing when experienced pain in his chest, which prompted his convoy to head for the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology instead.
Local media personnel suspected foul play and tried their best to find out if he had actually been sick or was it a ploy to buy himself more time. When asked about Musharraf’s whereabouts, his lawyer and longtime ally Ahmed Raza Kasuri said, “The former president was ready to appear before the court today but could not come as he suddenly fell sick.”
He rejected circulating conspiracy theories and maintained that his client’s health issues were genuine. Despite attempts by the public prosecutor to get an arrest warrant issued against Musharraf, the court bought the apparent version and adjourned its proceedings until January 6.
Musharraf toppled Nawaz Sharif’s civilian government in Pakistan in 1999 and stayed in power until 2008. He then immediately left the country and went into a four-year exile before returning last year. He was greeted with homicide charges for his role in Benazir Bhutto’s murder as well as prominent political leader Akbar Bugti. Neither case was considered strong enough to convict the former president.
The treason case, however, is a different story. Experts say the fact that he suspended Pakistan’s constitution during his presidency in 2007 could lead to a verdict against him, which might explain why he isn’t so keen for the case to progress.