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Musharraf's treason trial delayed after bomb found

Islamabad, Dec 24 (PTI) 13:25 IST
Former Pakistani military ruler Pervez Musharraf. Reuters photo
The trial of former Pakistani military ruler Pervez Musharraf on treason charges was delayed today after explosives were recovered from his route to the special court here.

At the outset of the proceedings‚ Musharraf's counsel Anwar Mansur raised objections on the constitution of special court and appointment of the prosecutor. He said the former president could not appear in the court due to security threat.

The court asked the lawyer to file separate plea if there were security threats to 70-year-old Musharraf and then delayed the proceedings.

Earlier in the morning, a bomb weighing 5 kg along with two loaded guns were recovered today from the route Musharraf was scheduled to take to the special court.

The bomb was recovered near the National Institute of Health by Pakistani rangers during a security check. TV footage showed two black pistols and a bomb. However, the bomb was not live.

Musharraf's trial is taking place at the National Library which is the heavily secured Red Zone here that houses all important institutions like the Prime Minister's House, Supreme Court and the Diplomatic Enclave.

Musharraf's efforts to wriggle out of a treason case had suffered a setback yesterday when a Pakistani court rejected his objections against the special court set up to try him.

Justice Riaz Ahmad Khan of the Islamabad High Court dismissed three pleas filed by Musharraf's lawyers against the constitution of the special court and the appointment of three judges and a state prosecutor to conduct his trial.

The special court had summoned the former army chief to appear before it to face charges of high treason for imposing emergency in 2007.

This is the first time in Pakistan's history that a former military dictator is facing trial for treason. If convicted, Musharraf could face life imprisonment or the death penalty.

Musharraf in his petition yesterday maintained that in the past, five "deviations" (coups) were validated by the courts and parliament and November 3, 2007 deviation was a similar state necessity for the good of the people.

It also said that the Prime Minister and top military generals were consulted before the emergency was imposed, and further challenged the July 31, 2009 judgment of the apex court.

"The petitioner, Musharraf, in the capacity of chief of army staff was compelled to issue promulgation of emergency on November 3, 2007 after reviewing the situation in meetings with prime minister, governors of all four provinces and with chairman joint chief of staff committee, vice chief of army staff and corps commanders of Pakistan army," the petition stated.

"Everyone had accepted emergency rule and the National Assembly also adopted a resolution in favour of emergency," Musharraf held in his petition.

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