Pervez Musharraff. Pic: AP.

ISLAMABAD (AP) — A special Pakistani court has indicted former military ruler Pervez Musharraf in a high treason case for suspending the country’s constitution by imposing emergency rule in 2007.

The development is a huge blow to Pakistan’s powerful military and the first time in the country that any acting or former army chief has been charged with treason.

Musharraf appeared in court on Monday and pleaded not guilty to five counts of treason. He insisted he had improved Pakistan’s economy while in office and put it on the path of progress.

Musharraf took power in a 1999 coup but was forced to step down in 2008. He later left Pakistan but returned last year to take part in elections.