February 11, 2016 / 6:38 PM / 2 years ago

Former Pakistan military leader Musharraf hospitalized with chest pain

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan’s former military ruler General Pervez Musharraf was taken to a hospital in the port city of Karachi on Thursday after complaining of chest pain and having difficulty breathing, a spokesman for his political party said.

Pakistan's former President Pervez Musharraf speaks during a news conference in Dubai March 23, 2013. REUTERS/Mohammad Abu Omar

“He is not well,” said Aasia Ishaque. “He felt serious discomfort in his chest and in breathing.”

Another leader of the party, Mohammad Amjad, said Musharraf was feeling better and would be released from the PNS Shifa Hospital shortly but that doctors would be closely monitoring him at home.

Musharraf came to power in 1999 in a bloodless coup against Nawaz Sharif, who is now prime minister, and stood down nine years later when threatened with impeachment.

He returned to Pakistan in March 2013 after nearly four years of self-imposed exile to contest elections, despite the possibility of arrest and death threats from the Taliban.

He has since faced a battery of court cases, including a charge of treason. Earlier this year, he was acquitted of the murder of a separatist leader in 2006, removing one of several cases against him.

Musharraf has also been charged in connection with the 2007 assassination of prime minister Benazir Bhutto and the murder of a prominent cleric. He is out on bail in both cases.

Pakistan’s military has ruled the South Asian nation for more than half of its 69-year history, after coups and from behind the scenes. It sets foreign and security policy even when civilian administrations are in power.

But the powerful generals have meddled far less in politics than in Musharraf’s era, preferring instead to let civilian governments take the heat for the country’s failures.

Reporting by Sheree Sardar; Writing by Mehreen Zahra-Malik; Editing by Mark Trevelyan

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