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Pakistan's Musharraf Rushed To Hospital On Way To Court

Former President Pervez Musharraf has dismissed the treason charge as politically motivated.
Former President Pervez Musharraf has dismissed the treason charge as politically motivated.
Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has been taken to a hospital with a suspected heart problem while on his way to a court hearing.

Police told the court in Islamabad on January 2 that the 70-year-old was transferred to a hospital in Rawalpindi after suffering a "heart problem."

"He has been moved to the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology, where he was admitted. I pray to Allah for his early recovery," Musharraf's lawyer, Ahmed Raza Kasuri, told reporters.

The nature of Musharraf's reported heart condition remains unclear. AFP news agency quoted one of his aides as saying he was in "bad shape."

Musharraf had been ordered to appear before a special tribunal in the capital on treason charges or face arrest after he failed to appear at two previous indictment hearings, citing security concerns.

Earlier on January 2, his lawyers walked out of court, complaining of being threatened and harassed.

The retired general is accused of treason for suspending the constitution and imposing emergency rule in November 2007. He has dismissed the charge as politically motivated and his lawyers have challenged the authority of the three-judge tribunal.

Musharraf is the first military ruler be tried for treason in Pakistan, which has seen three military coups since independence in 1947. A conviction could mean the death penalty or life imprisonment for him.

The former president also faces several other charges in separate cases relating to his nearly decade-long rule, including responsibility for the murder of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in 2007.

Musharraf, who took power in a 1999 coup and ruled Pakistan until 2008, has been granted bail on those charges but remained under guard at his residence outside Islamabad.

Security was high in Islamabad ahead of the court hearing, with hundreds of policemen and paramilitary troops guarding the 2-kilometer route from Musharraf's house to the court where the special tribunal is sitting.

With reporting by AFP and