Ex-Pakistani President Musharraf hospitalized just before his trial

Story highlights

  • Musharraf is charged with treason for allegedly violating Pakistan's constitution
  • In 2007, he imposed emergency military rule in the country
  • If convicted, he could be sentenced to life in prison or the death penalty
  • Musharraf has defended his actions by saying he was trying to stabilize the country

Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, who was due in court Thursday for his trial, has been hospitalized after falling ill, his lawyer told CNN.

He was taken to a hospital on his doctor's orders, lawyer Ahmad Raza Kasuri said. His trial was subsequently postponed until Monday.

Asiya Ishaq, a supporter and leader of the All Pakistan Muslim League, said the former President had been feeling pressure on his chest since Wednesday evening and was not well.

When asked if he will go to Dubai for treatment, she said that "Musharraf will not leave Pakistan." Ishaq also said that as far as she knows, "Musharraf has got three arteries blocked and is currently undergoing angiography," an artery-scanning procedure.

Atiqa Odho, a Pakistani actor who's a former leader of the APML, a party that Musharraf launched in 2010, offered support for Musharraf on Thursday.

Former President Musharraf in court
Former President Musharraf in court

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"I pray for President Musharraf's health and long life," she said. "It is painful to see how heartbroken a great and brave man is, due to being let down by people who claimed to be his supporters."

Musharraf could be sentenced to life in prison or the death penalty if convicted on charges of treason. Prosecutors say he violated Pakistan's constitution by imposing emergency military rule in 2007.

The former President ruled the country from 1999 to 2008.

He went into exile in 2008 but came back to Pakistan last year, intending to run in the country's national elections. But his plans unraveled as he became entangled in a web of court cases relating to his time in power.

The accusations

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has accused Musharraf of illegally abrogating on the constitution in November 2007. That month, Musharraf declared a state of emergency, suspended Pakistan's constitution, replaced the chief judge and blacked out independent TV outlets.

Musharraf said he did so to stabilize the country and to fight rising Islamist extremism. The action drew sharp criticism from the United States and democracy advocates. Pakistanis openly called for his ouster.

Under pressure from the West, he later lifted the state of emergency and promised elections.

Musharraf stepped down in August 2008 as the governing coalition began taking steps to impeach him.

A spokeswoman for Musharraf said in November that he is willing to face all charges against him.

"Gen. Musharraf has full faith in the judiciary and trusts the legal system to clear his name," Aasia Ishaque told CNN. "He is a man of his word, and he will let the court decide his fate."