ISLAMABAD - Former military ruler Pervez Musharraf “intends” to appear before a special court set to try him for high treason, his spokesman said Tuesday, after speculation he could escape trial by going abroad for medical treatment.
The 70-year-old is facing treason charges, which can carry the death penalty, over his imposition of a state of emergency in 2007 while he was president.
“We can confirm that former president Musharraf has posted bail and intends to appear in the special treason court on February 7th, 2014,” Raza Bokhari, a spokesman for Musharraf, said in a press statement.
Musharraf has been in a military hospital since falling ill with heart trouble while travelling to the special treason tribunal on January 2 and his lawyers had argued he needed specialist treatment abroad.
According to the press statement, Musharraf wrote on the bail bond “I do not recognise the authority of this special treason court, but I am complying for the greater good of the rule of law.”
“It is extremely relevant to note the formation, composition, jurisdiction, impartiality, independence and lawful authority of the special treason court is itself under question and under review in superior courts of Pakistan,” he said.
There had been speculation that he would be allowed to go abroad on medical grounds as part of a deal to head off a clash between the government and the all-powerful military, which is seen as reluctant to have its former chief tried by civilians.
The former general’s name is on the official “exit control list”, meaning he cannot leave Pakistan. After hearing medical reports from the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology in Rawalpindi, neighbouring Islamabad, where Musharraf is being treated, the court said it was not in its power to let him leave.