Pakistani court indicts Musharraf for treason

"I honor this court and prosecution, I strongly believe in law I don't have ego problems," Musharraf said in court

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Former Pakistani military ruler Pervez Musharraf on Monday was indicted for treason on charges relating to his 2007 imposition of emergency in a historic first for a country ruled for half its history by the army.

A special tribunal comprising three judges read out five charges, as the former president stood ramrod straight and replied "Not guilty" to each charge.

Musharraf, who has been absent from most of the tribunal's hearings owing to security threats and ill health, then turned to address the court.

"I honor this court and prosecution, I strongly believe in law I don't have ego problems, and I have appeared in court 16 times in this year in Karachi, Islamabad and Rawalpindi," the 70-year-old, who ruled Pakistan from 1999 to 2008, said.

"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'?"

Later his lawyer asked the court's permission for Musharraf to visit his sick mother in Dubai, according to Reuters news agency. The former military ruler is currently under house arrest.

Musharraf faces the death penalty if convicted of the charges over his suspension of the constitution and imposition of emergency rule in 2007, when he was trying to extend his rule as president.

(with AFP and Reuters)

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