Islamabad: The former cleric of the radical Lal Masjid petitioned Pakistan’s Supreme Court today to include ex-President Pervez Musharraf in a list of people barred from travelling out of the country.

Maulana Abdul Aziz, who was chief cleric of the Lal Masjid when Musharraf ordered a military operation against extremists holed up in the mosque in 2007, filed the petition through his lawyer Tariq Asad.

Aziz asked the court to direct authorities to include Musharraf in the Exit Control List that is maintained by the Interior Ministry.

He contended that Musharraf was a “prime suspect” in the Lal Masjid operation and was wanted by the government in several cases.

A judicial commission that is conducting an inquiry into the military operation against the Lal Masjid has issued notices to Musharraf four times to appear before it, Aziz said in his petition.

Musharraf’s statement should be recorded by the commission, he said.

Musharraf ended a nearly four-year-long self-exile when he flew into Karachi from Dubai yesterday.

He has said he will lead his All Pakistan Muslim League party in the general election to be held on May 11.

However, Musharraf is expected to face several legal challenges.

Two courts have issued arrest warrants for him in connection with the assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto and the killing of Baloch nationalist leader Akbar Bugti.

Musharraf obtained pre-arrest bail from the Sindh High Court before he returned to Pakistan.

On July 3, 2007, Musharraf ordered a military operation against extremists holed up in the Lal Masjid who had challenged the writ of the state.

Abdul Rashid Ghazi, the brother of Abdul Aziz, was among some 100 people killed during the operation.

Aziz has claimed hundreds of people were killed during the operation but has never offered evidence to back up his claim.

Aziz has been acquitted in all but one of the 27 cases registered against him.

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