Pakistan court rejects Musharraf plea for medical treatment in US

Pervez MusharrafA special court in Islamabad hearing the treason trial of Pakistan's former military ruler Pervez Musharraf today rejected his request to be allowed to go to the US for medical treatment. (See: Musharraf seeks court nod to go abroad for heart treatment)

The special court instead issued a bailable arrest warrant for General Musharraf and directed him to appear before it on 7 February. The bench directed the Inspector General of Islamabad Police to ensure the implementation of court orders against Musharraf and sought a report in this regard. It also set the bail bond at Pakistani Rs2.5 million.

The court observed that there was no appropriate justification for the non-appearance of Pervez Musharraf in the court. It termed Musharraf's plea not maintainable and remarked that the court has not stopped Musharraf from getting treatment in the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology (AFIC), where ''state of the art facilities were available''.

Earlier during the hearing, Musharraf's counsel Anwar Mansoor stated that he was not prepared for arguments and prayed to adjourn the hearing for Monday. He also sought exemption for the retired general from appearing in court. The bench turned down both requests.

Senior advocate Mohammad Akram Sheikh, appearing for the government, argued that the accused has never appeared before the court and exemption could only be granted to a person who appeared in the court and was shown incapable of remaining before the court later.

The next hearing of what is probably Musharraf's most troublesome case was set for 7 February.