Pakistan's top court has granted former military leader Pervez Musharraf a breathing space in his battle against treason allegations dating back to his time in power.
Judge Jawad Khawaja on Tuesday adjourned the treason hearing to April 15 to give Musharraf's lawyers time to prepare a response, rejecting their plea to put the matter off until after the election to allow him time to campaign.
Lawyers are petitioning the Supreme Court to have the 69-year-old retired general put on trial for treason for subverting the constitution during his 1999-2008 rule.
Musharraf returned to Pakistan last month from four years of self-imposed exile to stand in the May 11 general election, which will mark the first democratic transition of power in the country's 66-year history.
"The cases are very simple in nature and the matter that needs to be looked at is straightforward enough," Judge Khawaja said on Tuesday.
"We therefore consider it will be sufficient to meet the ends of justice if the cases are adjourned to April 15."
Musharraf has been approved to stand as a candidate in the remote northern area of Chitral, although a lawyer has vowed to contest that decision, but he has been rejected in three other seats.
Musharraf has said he came home to "save" nuclear-armed Pakistan, which is afflicted by an economic malaise and near-daily attacks by the Taliban and other militants.