Free Press Journal

Musharraf may seek to lift travel ban to visit ailing mother


Islamabad: Former Pakistani dictator Pervez Musharraf is likely to seek lifting a travel ban on him as his elderly mother has been admitted in a hospital in Sharjah.

95-year-old Zarin Musharraf was admitted to W W Wilson Hospital in Sharjah yesterday, ahead of Musharraf’s slated appearance before the special court tomorrow that is hearing the high treason case against him.

The lawyers of 70-year-old former military ruler are likely to seek removal of his name from the Exit Control List (ECL) that will enable him to fly out and meet his mother.

On January 5, Musharraf’s wife Sehba had submitted an application to the Interior Ministry for allowing him to undergo treatment abroad. The petition was rejected.

The move by Musharraf’s wife came after Sindh High Court made it clear that placing his name on the ECL “was an act of the federal government” and not consequent to a directive “of this court”.

Anybody whose name is put on the list cannot leave the country.

Mohammad Ali Saif, a lawyer of Musharraf, said he was considering filing a plea for ‘revision’ before the Interior Ministry. “We are considering the option of contacting the federal government in this regard,” he told Dawn daily.

Musharraf was admitted to the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology (AFIC), Rawalpindi on January 2 after he complained of “heart problem” on his way to the court.

Ahmad Raza Kasuri, another lawyer of Musharraf, said that the chances of his client appearing in the special court tomorrow was 50/50.

Talking to Geo News, Kasuri said that a situation of confrontation might arise if not handled wisely and added any sort of confrontation could be harmful to democracy.

The court has directed the police to arrest and bring Musharraf if he refuses to come on his own volition.

According to police officials, a team constituted for the purpose will go to the AFIC tomorrow morning, along with the SHO of Rawalpindi’s RA Bazaar police station, and serve the warrant.

If the doctors refuse to allow the police to take him to the court, they would have to issue a certificate describing Musharraf’s health condition and advising that he is unable to travel.

Musharraf faces treason charges for suspending, subverting and abrogating the Constitution, imposing an emergency in the country in November 2007 and detaining judges of the superior courts.

The military has ruled Pakistan for about half of its 66-year history and no ruler or top military commander has ever faced criminal prosecution before Musharraf.

Since Musharraf returned to Pakistan from self-exile in March last year, he has faced prosecution in four major cases, including one for his alleged involvement in the murder of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. PTI SAP