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Pervez Musharraf indicted for treason, pleads not guilty
April 1, 2014, 9:41 am
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Musharraf pleaded not guilty of all five charges and recounted his services to the country and the army in a brief address to the court.

A Pakistan court on Monday indicted former former military ruler Gen. (retd) Pervez Musharraf on five counts, including subversion of the 1973 constitution and sacking and detaining of over five dozen judges of superior courts in November 2007.

Musharraf pleaded not guilty of all five charges and recounted his services to the country and the army in a brief address to the court.

The charge carries the maximum penalty of death. Musharraf had missed most of the trial’s hearings due to ill-health and security threats. But he appeared fit and confident after arriving on Monday in a long convoy of SUVs, with more than 2,000 security officials deployed on the route from an army-run hospital to the special court. “I honour this court and prosecution, I strongly believe in law and don’t have ego problems, and I have appeared in court 16 times this year in Karachi, Islamabad and Rawalpindi,” the 70-year-old said, referring to a slew of other legal troubles.

He made an emotional speech highlighting the country’s achievements under his tenure, which initially encompassed economic reforms and rapid growth, but ended in rising Islamist bloodshed and a series of confrontations with an increasingly vocal judiciary. “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’?

“I am not a traitor. For me traitors are those who loot public money and empty the treasury,” he added.

Musharraf’s defence team repeated a call for the retired general to be allowed to visit his ailing mother, who is in her 90s, in the UAE. “He has come voluntarily to the court and he has pleaded not guilty. He will come back voluntarily,” lawyer Farogh Naseem said.

The bench responding to the petitions filed on behalf of Musharraf’s new counsel Farogh Nasim, ruled that Musharraf is a free citizen who is currently lodged in Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology for treatment of his own free will. His name has been put on exit control list (ECL) by the Federal Government and not the court.

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