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Pakistan Dismisses Coup Rumors, Upholds Death Sentences

  • VOA News

Pakistan's military ruler President Pervez Musharraf has dismissed rumors of an attempted coup against him while he was in the United States, saying his country is not a "banana republic."

The rumors began Sunday when Pakistan suffered a nationwide power blackout. Uncertainty was further fueled by news of a surprise medical check-up on General Musharraf.

The 63-year-old general underwent a routine examination in Texas and was declared healthy and fit.

In Pakistan meanwhile, the country's Supreme Court has upheld death sentences for 12 people convicted in a 2003 plot to assassinate General Musharraf.

A justice official says the Islamabad court today (Monday) dismissed the appeals of five military personnel and seven civilians. He says the Supreme Court will announce the reasons for the dismissal later.

In December 2003, the president and his guards narrowly escaped a bomb attack on his convoy because the high-tech jamming devices on his car delayed the explosions.

Eleven days later, suicide bombers near Islamabad tried to ram two explosives-laden vehicles into General Musharraf's limousine. He escaped, but at least 16 people, including his bodyguards, were killed.

General Musharraf came to power in a bloodless coup in 1999.

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