Security scare delays treason trial for Pakistan’s Musharraf

Security scare delays treason trial for Pakistan’s Musharraf

ISLAMABAD - The start of former Pakistani military ruler Pervez Musharraf's trial for treason was delayed over security fears 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 to have the tribunal ruled invalid failed.

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

As the court was preparing for Tuesday's preliminary hearing in the case, police said they found five kilograms (11 pounds) 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.

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

After the discovery, Musharraf 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 three member 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 adjourn 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.

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