Former Pakistani military dictator Pervez Musharraf was rushed to hospital in Islamabad on Thursday after suffering chest pains while on his way to court to face treason charges.
It was the third time that Musharraf, 70, has failed to appear at the special court in the Pakistani capital after citing security concerns on the first two occasions.
Musharraf seized power in a 1999 military coup when he was army chief. He later became president and ruled until 2008.
The treason charges relate to his imposition of a state of emergency in 2007, when he was manoeuvring to extend his rule in the face of growing opposition from the public and the judiciary.
Musharraf’s lawyers say he does not recognise the jurisdiction of the court and accuses it of bias.
A spokeswoman for Musharraf said he had been taken to a military hospital in the city of Rawalpindi, near Islamabad.
The case is being closely watched for any impact on the relationship between Pakistan’s three power centres – the military, an increasingly assertive judiciary and the fledgling civilian government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
There is concern that the trial of the former military leader could anger the army, which has ruled Pakistan for more than half its history since independence in 1947.
Musharraf recently told reporters the whole army supported him though the military leadership has given no indication that it might intervene in the trial.
Judge Faisal Arab has said he did not wish to issue an arrest warrant for Musharraf, but may be forced to if he does not appear in court.