March 31 - Pakistan's former president appears in court to deny charges of treason. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION A Pakistani court charged former president Pervez Musharraf with five counts of treason on Monday (March 31) to which he pleaded not guilty, in the latest chapter of a long-running drama between the country's increasingly assertive judiciary and its former military ruler. Musharraf faces the death penalty if convicted of the charges over his suspension of the constitution and imposition of emergency rule in 2007, when he was trying to extend his rule as president. Judge Faisal Arab, who heads the special panel of three judges, rejected a defence plea for additional time. Musharraf stood ramrod straight and replied "Not guilty" to each charge. Musharraf, who was President from 2001 to 2008, is the first Pakistani army chief to face such a prosecution. His defence team insists that he acted within the constitution when he declared a state of emergency in the country in 2007 and that he did not act alone when taking that decision. The former military ruler is currently under house arrest and is on the exit control list which restricts certain Pakistani nationals from leaving the country. The court adjourned until later in the day to decide whether Musharraf will be allowed to leave the country to visit his sick mother in Dubai.