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4 Dec, 2019 10:12

‘I fought for Pakistan, I hope I get justice’: Former Pakistani president Musharraf appears on TV from Dubai hospital

‘I fought for Pakistan, I hope I get justice’: Former Pakistani president Musharraf appears on TV from Dubai hospital

Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan’s controversial former leader, complained from a hospital bed in Dubai that his trial for treason, held in absentia, was unfair. The video has been broadcast by Pakistani media.

“I’ve served Pakistan all my life and I am being tried for treason,” Musharraf said in a video address from the American Hospital Dubai, where he was admitted on Monday after reportedly developing heart and blood pressure problems. “I have fought wars for Pakistan and served my country for 10 years,” he said, as cited by Geo News.

The politician, who lived in Dubai in recent years, called on a court in Pakistan to take a statement from him at the hospital and confirm the state of his health. He also asked that his lawyer is heard before a verdict in his case is read. “I hope I will get justice,” Musharraf said, adding that that he was being treated unjustly.

Musharraf was indicted for high treason in 2014, over declaring a state of emergency on November 2007. Since then, there have been many hearings, but the verdict is yet to be announced.

The retired general is a controversial figure in Pakistani politics. He held several senior government positions in the late 1990s and 2000s, such as chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, defense minister, prime minister, and president.

His grip on power came on the back of a border war with India and was realized in a bloodless military coup against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in 1999.

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He became president in 2002 after a referendum, which was condemned by opposition. The 2007 emergency was declared as he fought to get judiciary approval for his second presidential term. Amid political pressure and public discontent, Musharraf even agreed to resign from his position as the chief of army staff and rule as a civilian.

However, he left his office the following year. Critics say Musharraf’s decade in power was a time of subversion of democracy and military dictatorship. He was also accused of conspiring to murder his opponent, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, and has faced numerous allegations of corruption.

Musharraf admitted that he opened up the country to the CIA’s anti-terror drone operations. Since then, the drone strikes, which have caused scores of civilian deaths, have been banned by Pakistan’s parliament.

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Proponents say he had been tough on radical Islamists, built up Pakistani nuclear deterrence vis-à-vis India, and improved women’s rights.

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