Musharraf leaves Pakistan after travel ban lifted

Musharraf leaves Pakistan after travel ban liftedKARACHI/DUBAI: An ailing Pervez Musharraf today left for Dubai hours after the Pakistani government allowed the former dictator facing trial in a number of cases, including for high treason, to go abroad for medical treatment.

“I am a commando and I love my homeland. I will come back in a few weeks or months,” said 72-year-old Musharraf, who is suffering from a spinal cord ailment.

Vowing to face all pending cases against him, Musharraf said he was keeping himself abreast with developments in the country and will actively take part in politics after his return.

He said he was going abroad to seek “medical treatment of a decade-old illness which has now developed several complications”.

The former military ruler boarded the Emirates flight 611 bound for Dubai that departed from Karachi airport at 3.55 am (0425 IST).

“He was the last person to be embarked on the plane and then the gate was closed. The retired general appeared relaxed,” a media report quoted an airport source as saying.

He landed in Dubai at 5am.

“Musharraf intends to go back to Pakistan after his medical treatment as he wants to serve the country,” said Muhammad Amjad, Secretary General of All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) a political party led by Musharraf.

Amjad told reporters in Dubai that a team of doctors would decide about the former ruler’s next destination for medical treatment.

Musharraf, who went into self-imposed exile in Dubai after being forced to resign as president facing impeachment following the 2008 elections, had returned to Pakistan in 2013 but was implicated in several cases.

He was not allowed to leave the country until government yesterday evening allowed him to go abroad for treatment following orders by the Supreme Court a day earlier.

His lawyer informed the government yesterday that Musharraf will come back after four to six weeks and face all cases, prompting the government to let him go.

Musharraf has been facing high treason trial since 2013 and he was barred from leaving the country in 2014 by the government. The order was declared as illegal by the Sindh High Court the same year.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the decision of the Sindh High Court, rejecting the appeal by the government.

Interior minister Nisar Ali Khan yesterday told a press briefing that after consultation, the government decided to let Musharraf leave the country for treatment.

He said Musharraf’s lawyers had formally asked the government to allow him to undertake foreign travels.

“The government has decided to allow Musharraf to travel abroad for treatment. He has also committed he will face all cases against him in court,” Khan said.

He was referring to several cases faced by Musharraf including the high treason charged in a special court for suspending the constitution in 2007, which has been declared under Article 6 as being punishable by death.

He was indicted in April, 2014 but since then no progress has been made in the case for various reasons.

Musharraf’s APML said yesterday that he had a backbone- related issue and needed to go to the UAE to see a doctor.

It is believed that the decision to let Musharraf go out of the country will help heal a rift between the powerful army and the government, as the former was unhappy over treason trial of the former chief of army staff.

Musharraf came to power in a bloodless coup in 1999, deposing the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

He was implicated in a slew of court cases after returning from five years in self-exile in Dubai to contest the general election in 2013 which he lost.–PTI

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