Pakistan's former military ruler, Pervez Musharraf. File picture: Abu Omar

Islamabad -

Pakistani judges hearing treason charges against Pervez Musharraf on Tuesday adjourned his formal indictment to the end of the week after lawyers for the ex-military ruler said his life was in danger.

Musharraf, who ruled from 1999 to 2008, became the first former army chief to come before court on treason charges last month in a case that is seen as a test of civilian rule over the country's powerful army.

The court was due to indict Musharraf on Tuesday over his 2007 imposition of emergency rule, but lead judge Faisal Arab exempted him from appearing until Friday after his lawyers presented a letter citing security threats.

“We exempt him for today's appearance but he should appear in court by Friday and all required security arrangements in the wake of this threat should be made by Friday,” Arab said.

One of Musharraf's lawyers was thrown out of the hearing after appearing to threaten a judge.

Advocate Rana Ijaz told Arab he had been threatened by gangsters for his work on the case, adding: “I have many supporters and if something happens to me they will take care of you.”

Arab, who heads a three-member panel hearing the case, responded by having security escort Ijaz out.

Musharraf has endured a torrid time since returning to Pakistan in March last year on an ill-fated mission to run in the general election.

Almost as soon as he landed he was barred from contesting the vote and hit with a barrage of legal cases dating back to his 1999-2008 rule. - Sapa-AFP