Pakistan lets Musharraf fly away after court lifts travel ban

19 Mar 2016


Pakistan has allowed its former dictator Pervez Musharraf, who is facing treason trial since 2013 and was barred from leaving the country in 2014, to finally fly out of the country to his favourite abode in Dubai, UAE.

Musharraf slipped out of the country in the early hours of Friday morning in a move widely interpreted as a sign a compromise the government has reached with the country's all-powerful military establishment.

Musharraf left the country early on Friday for medical treatment in Dubai, a day after the government allowed him to go abroad.

''I am a commando and I love my homeland. I will come back in a few weeks or months,'' Dawn quoted Musharraf as saying.

Musharraf boarded an Emirates flight bound for Dubai that departed from Karachi airport at 3.55 am (0425 IST), a media report said.

''He was the last person to be embarked on the plane and then the gate was closed. The retired general appeared relaxed,'' the report said.

Musharraf (72) has been facing trial for treason since 2013 and he was barred from leaving the country by the government. The order, however, was declared illegal by the Sindh High Court in the same year.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the decision of the Sindh High court, rejecting the appeal of the government. But it did not bar the federal government from stopping Musharraf's foreign tours.

The former dictator, who was facing charges of treason, was finally removed from the country's ''exit control list'' on Thursday after almost three years of being banned from international travel.

He had been prevented from leaving the country since April 2013, soon after he returned from self-imposed exile and became embroiled in a series of legal cases, including high treason.

Pakistan's interior minister Nisar Ali Khan on Thursday 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.

The former army chief, who assumed power in a 1999 coup, was facing several cases, including high treason and was 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.

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