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Musharraf trial disrupted as mysterious explosives found near home

| Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013, 5:18 p.m.

ISLAMABAD — The treason trial of Pakistan's former military strongman, Pervez Musharraf, got off to a cloak-and-dagger start on Tuesday when police discovered explosives and other weapons on the route from his Islamabad home to the court hearing the case.

Musharraf had been scheduled to make ignominious history as the first Pakistan's former military dictator, out of four that have ruled the country since its independence in 1947, to be held accountable by a civilian court.

Instead, Musharraf stayed put at his luxury farmhouse residence in the suburbs of Islamabad, where he has been held since April, when security officials found a bag containing 11 pounds of explosives, 16 feet of detonation wire, two handguns and 16 rounds of ammunition on the road linking his home to an adjacent highway.

Mysteriously, the explosives had not been rigged to explode, raising suspicions about the identity and motives of the person or persons who had planted them. Once examined by the bomb squad and declared harmless, the bag was casually picked up by a uniformed police officer and taken away.

The three-judge special court appointed to hear the treason charges against Musharraf granted him a one-time immunity from appearing in person and ordered his lawyers to ensure he be present in court on Jan. 1.

Musharraf is being tried for imposing a state of emergency in November 2007. During that time, he suspended the constitution so that he could sack rebellious judges.

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