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Musharraf's treason trial postponed

If convicted, death penalty is possible for Pakistan's ex-leader

Musharraf's treason trial postponed

Police stand guard near Musharraf's Islamabad residence (picture: AFP Photo/Aamir Qureshi)

The treason trial of former Pakistani military ruler Pervez Musharraf was postponed on Tuesday December 24. The decision was taken over security fears, after explosives were found along the route he would have taken to court.

The trial will be delayed until New Year's Day, Pakistani officials told The Associated Press.

A day earlier, a Pakistani court maintained a travel ban on Musharraf, the former ruler's lawyer said. Musharraf had petitioned the court last month to remove his name from an exit control list of people not allowed to travel abroad.

“A two-member bench of the Sindh High Court has ruled that inclusion or exclusion of people’s name on the exit control list does not fall within the court’s jurisdiction and directed the former president to contact the federal government instead to get his name off the list,” Musharraf’s lawyer A.Q. Hallipota said Monday.

Hours later, the Islamabad High Court dismissed all three petitions filed by Musharraf against the formation of a special court to try him on treason charges, the appointment of three judges and a special prosecutor in the case.

The 70-year-old former military strong man is to appear in front of the special court on treason charges for declaring emergency rule and overthrowing most of the judiciary in November 2007.

If convicted, Musharraf could face the death penalty or life imprisonment.

Musharraf took power in a 1999 coup and led the country until he was forced to resign in 2008 under threat of impeachment. A year later, he went into self-imposed exile and lived in London and Dubai.

In March 2013, the former Pakistani president returned after nearly four years of exile to lead his political party in May 11 parliamentary elections. He was disqualified and barred from taking part in the polls.

He faces a range of alleged crimes, including the assassinations of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and Baloch separatist leader Nawab Akbar Bugi.

He was granted bail in these cases, but remains guarded in a villa on the outskirts of Islamabad, amid threats by the Pakistani Taliban.

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