In a significant development, a court in Pakistan on Thursday allowed former president Pervez Musharraf to leave the country. The court, however, gave the Pakistan government 15 days to appeal against its order.
Confirming the development, Pervez Musharraf’s lawyer said a court in Pakistan’s southern city of Karachi ordered the government to remove former military ruler’s name from a no-fly list in 15 days’ time.
“The court has allowed our appeal and ordered to strike down Musharraf’s name from the Exit Control List. The order will be executed after 15 days,” Farogh Naseem said.
This comes weeks after a special Pakistani court on March 31 this year indicted former military ruler on five counts of high treason, a charge that potentially carries the death penalty and delivers a sharp blow to the country’s powerful military.
This was the first time that an acting or former army chief was indicted for treason in Pakistan, where the military has taken power in three coups since the country was founded in 1947.
The indictment – the latest high drama in a series of legal cases Musharraf has faced since returning to Pakistan a little over a year ago – showcases the tensions between a civilian government that initiated the case and the military, which has generally been above the law.
Musharraf, who appeared in court for only the second time since court proceedings began in December, pleaded not guilty and delivered a nearly 30-minute defense of his time in office.
The former general, who has been at a hospital in the nearby city of Rawalpindi since January, said he was appearing in the proceeding against the advice of his medical team.
On a defense request that Musharraf be allowed to leave the country to see his ailing mother, the judges ruled that they didn’t have the authority to remove him from an official exit control list that restricts his movements, essentially leaving the issue to the government.
The three-judge tribunal was constituted just to deal with the treason case.