Se­cu­rity scare de­lays Mushar­raf trial

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD - By AGEN­CIES in Is­lam­abad AFP—AP

The start of for­mer Pak­istani pres­i­dent Pervez Mushar­raf’s trial for trea­son was de­layed over se­cu­rity fears on Tues­day af­ter ex­plo­sives were found near the road he was to take to court.

The 70- year- old had been ex­pected to ap­pear in per­son be­fore a spe­cially con­vened court in the cap­i­tal Is­lam­abad, af­ter le­gal ef­forts failed to have the tri­bunal ruled in­valid.

The al­le­ga­tions re­late to his im­po­si­tion of emer­gency rule in November 2007. Mushar­raf and his le­gal team have said the case was po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated.

As the court was pre­par­ing for Tues­day’s pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing in the case, po­lice said they found 5 kg of ex­plo­sive ma­te­rial along with a det­o­na­tor and two pis­tols close to the route Mushar­raf was due to take from his house to the court in Is­lam­abad.

Muham­mad As­jad, the po­lice chief for Chak Shahzad, where Mushar­raf lives, said the ma­te­rial had not been as­sem­bled into a bomb.

Af­ter the dis­cov­ery, Mushar­raf ’s lawyer An­war Man­soor Khan told the court that the for­mer gen­eral would not be able to at­tend be­cause of se­ri­ous se­cu­rity threats to his life.

Jus­tice Faisal Arab, head­ing the bench, said he un­der­stood the “grav­ity” of Mushar­raf ’s sit­u­a­tion and asked his lawyers to file an ap­pli­ca­tion to ex­empt him from ap­pear­ing in per­son.

The court was ex­pected to de­cide later on Tues­day whether to con­tinue the hear­ing to a later date or to pro­ceed in Mushar­raf’s ab­sence.

The team of 10 lawyers rep­re­sent­ing Mushar­raf has also filed pe­ti­tions chal­leng­ing the author­ity of the spe­cial court and ob­ject­ing to the ap­point­ment of the pros­e­cu­tor.

Se­cu­rity around the court was tight for the man who led Pak­istan into its un­easy al­liance with the US in the “war on ter­ror” and now lives un­der heavy armed guard be­cause of Tal­iban threats to his life.

Pervez Mushar­raf, Pak­istan’s for­mer pres­i­dent

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