Court moved to bar Musharraf from leaving Pakistan
KABUL (PAN): Amid reports about a clandestine deal on Pakistan former military dictator Pervez Musharraf’s exile, the Islamabad High Court on Friday admitted a petition restraining the retired general from travelling abroad.
Musharraf was rushed to a military hospital in Rawalpindi with a cardiac complication on Thursday when he was to appear before a special court in Islamabad in connection with the hearing of a treason case under Article 6 of Pakistan’s constitution.
His sudden hospitalisation touched off rumours in the local media that the former dictator was faking the cardiac condition to flee the country. The Saudi foreign minister is due to arrive in Islamabad next week to broker a deal between the government and the erstwhile army chief.
According to media reports, Musharraf -- a swimmer and former army commando -- is not publicly known to have had any heart problem. The turn of events and the timing of his ailment are widely seen as an excuse to duck his trial, according to Dawn.com.
Haroon Rasheed, the son of Lal Masjid cleric Ghazi Abdul Rasheed, prayed the court to order the interior ministry to bar Musharraf from leaving Pakistan. The former president, whose orders led to Rasheed’s killing in a military operation some years back, should be treated within the country, the petitioner said.
But Raza Bokhari, Musharraf's spokesman, said the former army chief was conscious, and was being examined by military doctors. Doctors later ruled out a heart attack but kept him under observation at the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology.
Subsequently, the special court granted the retired general exemption from appearing before it for the day's proceedings and ruled that an arrest warrant was not issued for medical reasons. The court had earlier ordered Musharraf to appear and warned of issuing arrest warrants in case he failed to turn up.
Also on Friday, the Foreign Office said Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al Faisal’s visit to Islamabad on Monday is no way linked to the treason trial of Musharraf. The trip was scheduled earlier and had nothing to do with the high-profile case, it added.
Defence Minister Khwaja Asif has ruled out chances of the government allowing Musharraf, who had forced Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family into exile in Saudi Arabia in 2001, to go abroad for medical treatment.
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