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Pakistan’s Musharraf charged with high treason

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A court in Pakistan has charged former military ruler Pervez Musharraf with treason, the first army chief to face such a prosecution.

Mr Musharraf is accused of unlawfully suspending the constitution and instituting emergency rule in 2007.

He pleaded not guilty and has always claimed that the charges against him are politically motivated. He faces the death penalty if convicted.

President from 2001 to 2008, he was one of Pakistan’s longest-serving rulers.

He went into self-imposed exile in 2008, returning to Pakistan in March 2013.

He had hoped to lead his party into elections, but was disqualified from standing and found himself fighting an array of charges relating to his time in power.

He has been in hospital since the beginning of year and reports say he is being treated for high blood pressure.

The judge read out five charges to Mr Musharraf.

He pleaded “not guilty” to each of them but also addressed the court with a speech about his services to the country and questioned how he could be called a traitor.

The BBC’s Shaan Khan at the scene reports that when the former president entered the court he was heavily guarded, but nevertheless appeared relaxed, even waving to the audience.

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