Musharraf treason court to consider medical report

ISLAMABAD (AFP) - A special court set up to try Pakistan's former ruler Pervez Musharraf for treason adjourned on Tuesday to consider a medical report on his heart complaint.

The 70-year-old was rushed to the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology in Rawalpindi, which borders Islamabad, on his way to the tribunal last week.

The court adjourned the hearing until Wednesday to allow time to assess the doctors' report and said defence and prosecution teams would receive copies.

Musharraf's camp says the treason allegations, which relate to his imposition of emergency rule in Nov 2007, are politically motivated and his lawyers have challenged the authority of the tribunal.

Judge Faisal Arab, who heads the three-member bench, told the court on Tuesday: "We will give an opportunity to both sides to examine (the report) and then we will decide accordingly." Ahmad Raza Kasuri, a lawyer for Musharraf, told reporters that owing to the complexity of the medical issues the matter could only be debated once both sides had been given time to assess the report.

Musharraf's sudden health scare was met with scepticism by some observers, and media speculation that his departure as part of a face-saving deal to avert a civil-military clash could be imminent.

Rumours have circulated for months that a backroom deal would be struck to whisk him overseas before trial to avoid a destabilising clash between the government, which brought the charges, and the powerful armed forces.

But the former commando has previously insisted he wants to stay and fight the charges.

Aside from the treason allegations, Musharraf also faces trial over the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, the death of a rebel leader, a deadly raid on a radical mosque and the detention of judges.

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