Musharraf fails again to appear for treason trial

Pakistan’s former military ruler Pervez Musharraf is in hospital after his lawyers said he suffered chest pains on his way to court for his treason trial.

The 70-year-old was transferred to the Armed Forces Cardiology Hospital in Rawalpindi and is undergoing tests. It is the third time the former president has failed to appear in court following two previous security scares.

The treason charges relate to his decision in 2007 to suspend the constitution and impose emergency rule. Mr Musharraf denies the charges and says all the accusations against him are politically motivated.

He is the first former military ruler to face trial for treason in Pakistan, which has a history of army rule. If found guilty, he could be sentenced to death or life in prison.

The case puts the government, which brought the charges, on a collision course with the all-powerful army, which faces the embarrassment of having its former chief tried by civilians.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who won a third term in May’s general election, was the man Musharraf ousted in his 1999 coup and the former general’s lawyers say he is using the case to exact revenge.

Since returning from self-imposed exile in March to run in the election, Musharraf has faced various serious criminal cases dating back to his 1999-2008 rule. He stands accused of murder over the death of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, as well as charges over the death of a rebel leader, a deadly military raid on a radical mosque and the detention of judges.