A special court on Monday indicted former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf for high treason over the 2007 emergency he clamped in the country. If convicted, the former military general will stand to be hanged or jailed for life. He has contested the allegation.
"Whatever I did, I did for the country and its people. I am sad that I am being called a traitor," stated Musharraf, claiming that he made Pakistan a respectable country during his tenure.
The court also denied his plea to travel to Dubai to meet his ailing mother in a separate hearing later, according to Pakistan TV news channel reports.
Earlier in the day, Musharraf ended speculation that he will continue avoiding appearance at the court due to “ill health”. He is admitted in the Armed Forced Institute of Cardiology (AFIC), but attended the hearing on Monday morning before returning to the facility. The special court had issued a non-bailable arrest warrant for the retired general if he failed to appear in court on March 31.
Musharraf, in fact, had reached the court before the judges, who were delayed due to the strict security arrangements made for the former President.
"I honour this court and prosecution, I strongly believe in law I don't have ego problems, and I have appeared in court 16 times in this year -- in Karachi, Islamabad and Rawalpindi," he said, adding "I am a decorated soldier who has received medals for bravery while fighting in wars for Pakistan."
Musharraf is being tried for suspending, subverting and abrogating the constitution under Article 6 for imposing an emergency in the country in November 2007 and detaining judges of superior courts.
A three-member bench, headed by Justice Faisal Arab, heard the treason case. There have been 35 hearings for the case so far of which Musharraf has only attended one.
During the hearing, Musharraf's newly-appointed lawyer Dr Farogh Nasim requested the special court not to indict Musharraf and allow him to travel abroad to visit his ailing mother. Dr Nasim was arguing on behalf of the former military general since his legal team stayed away from court in protest.
On March 29, it was reported that Musharraf's mother, who has been in ill health for some time now, was shifted from Dubai to Sharjah's W Wilson hospital after her condition suddenly worsened.
Musharraf himself has been undergoing medical treatment. According to media reports, he was shifted to the AFIC's intensive care unit on Sunday evening after his blood pressure rose. A member of Musharraf's team, advocate Rana Ejaz, who was removed from the special court for his 'contemptuous conduct', was quoted by Geo TV on Sunday as saying that Musharraf had been shifted to the ICU.