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Dr. AJ Hashmi denied Thursday that his letter to a Pakistani court asking that Pervez Musharraf be transferred to Paris Regional Medical Center was a guise to get the 70-year-old former president of Pakistan out of the country where he is being tried for high treason.
“If they think so, that’s what they can think. The entire world has called me today, and I would not acknowledge or deny, because it’s a patient-related thing and I don’t discuss patient issues with anyone,” Hashmi told eParisExtra.
Hashmi’s report about Musharraf’s declining health and suggestion that he return for treatment was in major newspapers, radio/TV newscasts and cable and TV reports around the globe on Thursday.
“There is no story to it other than the doctor has written a letter stating the facts. He has been treated by me before, I am his doctor, and I have documentation by testing. I don’t speak without grounds,” Hashmi said.
“What I have written is 100 percent accurate, verifiable information. Does anyone think because someone is my friend I am going to write a report for him? It’s a question of me and my credibility as a physician, and my credibility as a mayor, and my credibility as a person.”
Hashmi wrote a medical certificate on Musharraf’s health at the request of Musharraf’s family.
Musharraf took over as Pakistan’s president in a 1999 coup and governed until he was forced out in 2008.
He made a highly publicized trip to Paris in 2006 to be examined by Hashmi and has made several other trips back since, often staying with Hashmi, sometimes making himself available for visits with Paris residents.
Hashmi is the doctor of a number of high-profile dignitaries, including top Pakistani and U.S. military and civilian leaders.
Hashmi has said Musharraf was in good health when he first examined him eight years ago.
However, his health has gradually deteriorated, and Musharraf was admitted on Jan. 2 to the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology in Rawalpindi, just outside of Islamabad.
That occurred as Musharraf was on his way to a hearing before a three-judge court. Since then, he has repeatedly been a no-show, resulting in the court’s review of a medical report from the Rawalpindi hospital outlining his condition.
The judges concluded the hospital report did not reflect that Musharraf was unable to appear before the court, and they ordered him to be present on Thursday.
But Musharraf was again absent on Thursday, and his attorney, Anwar Mansoor Khan, told the judges that Musharraf remains in poor health.
“He has not been discharged from the hospital, and continues to be under treatment,” Khan said. He also submitted Hashmi’s letter to the judges.
Later Thursday, the court ordered a more detailed medical report from the doctors treating Musharraf now. The judges want to know how sick Musharraf is, whether he has undergone any surgery since his admission, or if surgery is planned.
Musharraf’s failure to be in court Thursday was described by prosecutor Akram Sheikh as “defiance.”
A former military commando, Musharraf returned to Pakistan last March, perhaps thinking of a political comeback. Instead, he was hauled before authorities to answer several questions about his decade-long rule.
The high treason case is the most serious of several ongoing cases. If convicted, he could face the death penalty or life in prison. The high treason case concerns his 2007 decision to impose a state of emergency, in which a number of judges were detained.
By Charles Richards, eParisExtra