Pakistan army, govt mull easing up on Musharraf

Pakistan's military chief Gen Raheel Sharif was today reported to have advised the government to allow former military ruler Gen Pervez Musharraf to travel abroad for medical treatment and to look after his ailing nonagenarian mother.

According to several Pakistani newspapers, the possible exit of 70-year-old Musharraf from the country was discussed during a meeting between Gen Sharif and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday.

The chief of the country's dreaded Inter-Services Intelligence, Lt Gen Zaheerul Islam, also attended the 'informal consultations' to decide the fate of the former President, the report said. India holds the ISI responsible for most of the terrorist attacks it has suffered.

However, there was no official word on the high-level meeting.

"A well-informed security" official told the Express Tribune that Musharraf's name should be removed from the Exit Control List (ECL) after a clear verdict by the special court, which is trying the former army chief for treason charges.

Musharraf was indicted on Monday by a special court hearing the high treason case against him, becoming the first-ever military ruler to face criminal prosecution. (See: Musharraf indicted on five counts of treason) 

But the three-judge special court in its ruling stated it had no objections if the federal government removes the travel ban on Musharraf for medical treatment.

The development may on the one hand show that Musharraf still has loyalists in the all-powerful Pakistan army; but on the other hand the civilian government may well be willing to compromise to rid itself of the problem general.