World / Asia-Pacific

Court indicts Musharraf in high treason case

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-03-31 14:52

ISLAMABAD - A special court in Pakistan on Monday formally charged former military President Pervez Musharraf over the high treason charges for abrogating the country's constitution when he had imposed emergency rule in 2007, court officials said.

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Musharraf rejected the charges and pleaded non-guilty when he was allowed to speak on the charges. Musharraf told the court he had served Pakistan for over 40 years and also fought two wars.

The court had issued arrest order for the former President if he refused to appear on March 31.

The charge-sheet said that Musharraf, as the army chief, had illegally and unconstitutionally ordered imposition of emergency in November 2007.

Justice Tahira Safdar, a member on the three-member bench, read out the charges.

The former military ruler heard all the charges and pleaded non- guilty.

Musharraf told the court that he respects the courts and he appeared nearly 17 times in courts in various cases. He explained his government's performance and said he had done a lot for Pakistan.

Musharraf arrived in the court in Islamabad amid heavy security from a military hospital in the city of Rawalpindi where he was admitted in January. A police team had reached the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology to arrest Musharraf in case he refused to appear.

Musharraf, who took over in a bloodless coup in 1999 and ruled the country until 2008 as the army chief and the president, also faces some other criminal charges including the murder of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. She was killed in December 2007.

Officials said that nearly 2,000 paramilitary troops and the police had been deployed on the route between the hospital and the court.

Legal experts say the court can now formally begin high treason case after the indictment.

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