Islamabad / AFP
Pakistanâ€™s top court on Wednesday ordered the government to lift a travel ban on former military ruler Pervez Musharraf, a move that could let him leave the country while awaiting trial for treason.
Musharrafâ€™s lawyers say he needs to go abroad for urgent spinal treatment not available in Pakistan. He was placed on the â€œExit Control Listâ€ (ECL) in 2013 after he returned to the country on an ill-fated mission to contest elections. The former ruler was barred from taking part in the polls and instead forced to face a barrage of legal cases.
Last June his name was removed from the ECL by the Sindh High Court. But the federal government, headed by his long-time rival Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, appealed the verdict. Supreme Court Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali announced that the governmentâ€™s appeal had been dismissed. But he said the government or a separate court could technically pass a fresh travel ban if they provided valid reasons.
Faisal Hussain, one of Musharrafâ€™s lawyers, welcomed the verdict. â€œHe can leave any time any time now — there is no impediment or hurdle,â€ he told AFP.
â€œIt is between him and his doctor now where he wants to be treated.â€
In January Musharraf was acquitted over the 2006 killing of a Baloch rebel leader, Nawad Akbar Bugti.
The decision meant there are now four outstanding cases against him all dating from 2007 — including treason for the imposition of emergency rule, the unlawful dismissal of judges, the assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto in a gun and suicide attack, and the raid on the radical Red Mosque.
Musharraf ousted Sharif from power in 1999 in a bloodless coup and ruled Pakistan until democracy was restored in 2008.
Pakistan court lifts travel ban on ex-prez Musharraf
Islamabad / AFP