A special court conducting the treason trial of Pervez Musharraf today reserved its ruling over the application of criminal laws in the case, even as media reports said the embattled former Pakistani dictator might leave the country within days.
Justice Faisal Arab-led bench adjourned the hearing in the high treason trial of 70-year-old Musharraf till tomorrow after reserving the ruling over the application of criminal laws in the case.
Prosecutor Akram Sheikh said Pakistan's Supreme Court had already issued a ruling according to which all crimes under the Army Act fell within the domain of Pakistan's penal code. He argued that the special court enjoyed all the powers of a High Court.
A source in the high-profile defence team of Musharraf told PTI, "Our argument was no, it does not. The bench will take up the issue of medical report tomorrow when we will present our case."
While presenting his arguments, Musharraf's lawyer Anwar Mansoor said criminal code cannot be applied to it.
Yesterday, the three member-bench of the special court had granted a two-day exemption to Musharraf from attending the hearing of the case after the submission of his medical reports.
Musharraf was admitted to the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology in Rawalpindi on January 2 after he suffered heart problems while being taken to the special court to face charges of high treason for imposing emergency in 2007.
The former president had also missed two earlier hearings in the case due to bomb threats and there has been speculation in the media that he would be evacuated from the country under medical pretence.
American media reports have said Musharraf may leave the country this month.
The Los Angeles Times quoting unnamed Pakistani officials said Musharraf could depart within days.
"It is good for everybody — including Musharraf — that he would go out of the country," said a "senior security official in Islamabad", who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case.
A family member of Musharraf and a Pakistani intelligence official told CBS news that the former president was expected to leave the country for medical treatment in exile.
Musharraf's "cousin" told CBS News that his doctors were already seeking medical appointments for him in Britain during the second half of January "to make certain that the treatment begins as soon as he lands in the UK"
He faces treason charges for suspending, subverting and abrogating the Constitution, imposing an emergency in the country in November 2007 and detaining judges of the superior courts.
It is the first time in Pakistan's history that a former military ruler has been put on trial for treason, a charge that entails life imprisonment or death penalty if convicted.