Pakistan's Musharraf wants heart treatment abroad

AP News
Posted: Jan 24, 2014 11:06 AM

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf wants to leave the country to undergo medical treatment for a heart condition abroad, defense lawyers in his high treason trial said Friday.

The military hospital treating Musharraf submitted a second report Friday about his medical condition to the court hearing his case. It also was given to his lawyers, but was not made public.

Two defense lawyers said the board recommended Musharraf urgently undergo an angiography — a medical imaging technique used to visualize the blood vessels of the heart to look for heart disease. One of the lawyers said Musharraf had doubts about the quality of medical care he could receive in Pakistan.

The lawyers spoke on condition of anonymity as the report had not been made public by the court.

Prosecutor Akram Sheikh said Musharraf simply wants to leave the country and railed against the retired general for not trusting the military hospital treating him. Sheikh called Musharraf "hale and hearty."

The two defense lawyers would not say if the report recommended Musharraf be tested abroad.

Judges adjourned the case until Wednesday.

Musharraf seized power in a bloodless coup in 1999, but was forced to step down in 2008 and later left the country. The high treason case stems from his 2007 decision to impose a state of emergency and detain a number of judges.

The former president is a patient at the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology in Rawalpindi, just outside of Islamabad. He was taken there after suffering a "heart problem" on the way to court Jan. 2 after failing to appear at previous proceedings.

His lawyers previously said that Musharraf needs to go to the U.S. for treatment and at an earlier court hearing on Jan. 16 produced a letter from a doctor in Texas requesting that he be transferred there. That sparked the judges to request a medical report from the hospital to determine how precarious his situation is.

Musharraf's repeated failure to appear in court and his hospitalization has led to speculation that he'll leave the country under the guise of seeking medical treatment abroad to avoid trial.

He returned to Pakistan in March 2013, hoping for a political comeback but instead got embroiled in court cases relating to his near-decade in power. Musharraf also has been threatened by Pakistani militants who would like to see him dead for ordering a series of operations against their strongholds in northwestern Pakistan.