No-show for Pakistan's Musharraf in treason case

No-show for Pakistan's Musharraf in treason case
Pakistan's former military ruler Pervez Musharraf addresses foreign media representatives at his farmhouse in Islamabad on December 29, 2013

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan's former military ruler Pervez Musharraf failed to show up for a hearing in the treason case against him on Wednesday, with his lawyers citing security threats.

The 70-year-old stands accused over his imposition of emergency rule in November 2007, but he and his legal team have dismissed the charge as politically motivated.

Conviction could mean the death penalty or life imprisonment for Musharraf, who has faced a series of criminal cases since returning from self-imposed exile in March.

His defence team said he could not attend the special treason tribunal on Wednesday because security arrangements were inadequate. They also complained that lawyers in the case had been threatened.

The delay comes a week after a bomb scare forced the hearing to be adjourned.

"He is unable to appear before the court because of security hazards," lawyer Ahmed Raza Kasuri told the tribunal.

The Taliban have made repeated threats to kill Musharraf, who led Pakistan into its alliance with Washington's "war on terror", and he lives under heavy guard at his farmhouse on the edge of Islamabad.

The case was adjourned on December 24 after explosives were found along the route he was to take to court and on Monday more explosives were discovered on the same road.

Destabilising clash?

Musharraf is the first former army chief to go on trial in Pakistan, setting up a potentially destabilising clash between the government - which brought the charges - and the all-powerful military.

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