Justifying 70-year-old Musharraf's absence from all hearings of the case so far on medical grounds, Kasuri said: "At present, he (Musharraf) is not a normal person and I cannot say exactly if he will appear before the court because he is sick and under observation.”

"I cannot say that the former President will appear before the special court on January 16 because that is subject to permission from his physicians."

Last week, the court ordered Musharraf to appear before it on January 16 to face charges of high treason after reviewing a medical report from the Armed Forced Institute of Cardiology (AFIC), where he was admitted with heart problems on January 2.

The medical report did not suggest that Musharraf, in his present state of health, was unable to attend hearings, the three judges of the special court said in an order issued on January 9.

"It is clear that the accused has failed to obey and comply with the order of this court," the order added.

The government set up the court to try the former army chief on charges of treason for imposing emergency in 2007.

On Sunday, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan made it clear that Musharraf's name will remain on the Exit Control List, effectively barring him from leaving the country.

Musharraf was rushed to the military hospital in Rawalpindi after he suddenly developed heart problems while being driven to the special court.

He missed two earlier hearings after explosives were found near his home and there has been rampant speculation that he would be allowed to leave Pakistan for medical reasons.

This is the first time in Pakistan’s history that a former military ruler has been put on trial for treason. If convicted, he could be given life imprisonment or the death penalty.


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