Monday, March 31, 2014

Pakistan's Musharraf charged in treason case --- A court in Pakistan has charged former military ruler Pervez Musharraf with treason, the first army chief to face such a prosecution. -- He pleaded not guilty and has always claimed that the charges against him are politically motivated. He faces the death penalty if convicted. -- President from 2001 to 2008, he was one of Pakistan's longest-serving rulers. -- He went into self-imposed exile in 2008, returning to Pakistan in March 2013. -- He had hoped to lead his party into elections, but was disqualified from standing and found himself fighting an array of charges relating to his time in power. -- The 70-year-old has been in hospital since the beginning of the year and reports say he is being treated for high blood pressure. -- The judge read out five charges to Mr Musharraf. --- He pleaded "not guilty" to each of them but also addressed the court with a speech about his services to the country and questioned how he could be called a traitor, declaring that he was a patriot. -- "I am being called a traitor, I have been chief of army staff for nine years and I have served this army for 45 years. I have fought two wars and it is 'treason'?" the Agence France-Presse news agency quotes him as saying. -- "Is this the way to reward someone for being loyal to the country and for loving the country?" Musharraf asked the court. -- Mr Musharraf insists that he acted within the constitution when he declared a state of emergency in the country in 2007 and that he did not act alone when taking that decision. -- When the former president entered the court he was heavily guarded, but nevertheless appeared relaxed, even waving to the audience -- The court has adjourned and its next task is to decide whether Mr Musharraf will be allowed to leave the country to visit his sick mother in Dubai. -- He is currently on the exit control list which restricts certain Pakistani nationals from leaving the country and is under house arrest. - BBC, at:


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