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Pakistan court demands Musharraf attend hearing despite medical reports

The Islamabad Special Court on Thursday ordered the former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf [BBC profile, JURIST news archive] to appear at a hearing on January 16 despite his lawyers' position that he is too sick to attend. According to court registrar Abdul Ghani Soomro, the judges have examined Musharraf's medical report submitted by the hospital and have concluded [AP report] that Musharraf is fit to appear before the court. The court said that there is no indication that he has suffered a heart attack. The court had previously granted [JURIST report] Musharraf an exemption from personal appearance due to health issues on Monday, but instructed authorities at the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology (AFIC) [official website] where Musharraf has been staying to supply the court with his medical report by Tuesday. The demand came after Musharraf missed another hearing [Express Tribune report] complaining of chest pain. Prosecutor Akram Sheikh has accused Musharraf of checking into the AFIC hospital in Rawalpindi to avoid hearings rather than to address actual health concerns.

Musharraf has faced a slew of legal troubles since returning to Pakistan almost a year ago. In December the Islamabad High Court ruled [JURIST report] that the former president's trial for treason would continue despite Musharraf's challenges to the legitimacy of the proceedings. Earlier that month he was granted bail [JURIST report] in a criminal case relating to the death of a radical cleric. In August the Pakistani interim government declined [JURIST report] to try Musharraf for treason because they claimed such action would be outside the scope of their duties. Also that month a Pakistani court officially charged [JURIST report] Musharraf with murder, conspiracy to commit murder and facilitation of murder in the 2007 death of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto[BBC obituary; JURIST news archive]. In April a Pakistan court extended [JURIST report] Musharraf's bail on charges of illegally detaining judges. That same month, the Peshawar High Court of Pakistan [official website] both banned [JURIST report] Musharraf from running for public office for the rest of his life and extended his house arrest during the ongoing trial regarding the murder of Bhutto. Msuharraf left Pakistan in 2008 to live in self-imposed exile in Dubai and London after he was defeated by Bhutto's party.

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