Pakistan court orders Pervez Musharraf to attend future court hearings

Pervez Musharraf on 29 December 2013 Image copyright AFP
Image caption Pervez Musharraf says the accusations against him are politically motivated

A Pakistani court has ruled that ex-military ruler Pervez Musharraf must attend his next court hearing, despite his lawyers' arguments that he is in poor health.

He has been in hospital ever since suffering chest pains on his way to the treason trial last week.

Prosecutors say his medical report provides no reason for him to skip the next court hearing set for 16 January.

Security concerns prevented him attending any of his earlier hearings.

Correspondents say many people have viewed reports of his illness with scepticism, as they did the security scares which his defence team say prevented him from appearing in court on 1 January and 24 December.

He is the first former military ruler to face trial for treason in Pakistan, which has a history of army rule. If found guilty, he could be sentenced to death or life in prison.

He also faces separate charges of murder and restricting the judiciary. The treason charges relate to his decision in 2007 to suspend the constitution and impose emergency rule.

Mr Musharraf says all the accusations against him are politically motivated.

Meanwhile, former President Asif Ali Zardari made his first appearance at court since stepping down to face corruption charges.

His court session was brief and adjourned until 18 January when it will decide whether to formally indict the former leader for alleged bribe-taking, money-laundering and the illegal construction of a polo ground at an official residence.

Mr Zardari denies all these charges.

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