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Musharraf not returning to Pakistan to face trial for treason

Musharraf left for Dubai in 2016 to 'seek medical treatment', two years after the PML(N) government dragged him to court for treason, and has not returned since

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Islamabad: Dawn has reported that former military dictator Pervez Musharraf is unlikely to return to Pakistan to face trial in the high-profile treason case. He was indicted by a special court in 2014 for suspending the Constitution. Reportedly, Musharraf took the decision under family pressure and a medical board’s recommendations.

This is in contrast to Musharraf’s lawyer Salman Safdar’s statement made yesterday that the 75-year-old former president of Pakistan would appear before the court that had summoned him for the hearing scheduled for 2 May despite his reportedly deteriorating medical condition.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government in 2014 had filed the treason case against Musharraf for his imposition of “extra-constitutional” emergency in November 2007.

But Musharraf left for Dubai in 2016 to “seek medical treatment” and has not returned since. Last month, he was admitted to a hospital in Dubai after suffering a reaction from a rare disease for which he is already under treatment.

Nawab Chitrali Ali, a member of the All Pakistan Muslim League, said to the newspaper on Sunday, “Gen Musharraf has been facing pressure from his family that he should not travel at the cost of his health. However, as everyone knows that Gen Musharraf is a man of his words so still there are 50% chances of his return.”

“He is eager to come to Pakistan. He wants to appear before the court. He has been suffering from severe backbone pain and the medical board has advised him not to travel,” Nawab Chitrali Ali has been quoted as saying in the report.

The Supreme Court, while hearing a plea filed by a lawyer who pointed out that proceedings of the treason case had come to a halt as former president Musharraf had not returned since 2016, on April 1 directed him to appear before the special court on May 2.

The three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa also warned him that if he fails to turn up then he will lose his right to record a statement under Section 342 of the Code of Criminal Procedures.

The special court declared Musharraf a proclaimed offender and ordered the confiscation of his property owing to his no-show.

Later, on orders of the Supreme Court, Musharraf’s passport and national identity card were also cancelled.

Musharraf ruled Pakistan from 1999 to 2008. A conviction for high treason carries the death penalty or life imprisonment.

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