Petition filed against Musharraf's possible exit from country

Published January 3, 2014
Paramilitary soldiers stand outside the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology (AFIC) where former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf was admit for treatment in Rawalpindi on January 2, 2014. — Photo by Reuters
Paramilitary soldiers stand outside the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology (AFIC) where former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf was admit for treatment in Rawalpindi on January 2, 2014. — Photo by Reuters

ISLAMABAD: A petition to restrain Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf from travelling abroad to receive medical treatment was submitted on Friday in the Islamabad High Court, DawnNews reported.

The petitioner, Haroon Rasheed, who is the son of Lal Masjid cleric Ghazi Abdul Rasheed, requested the court to instruct the federal interior ministry to provide the former president with the best medical facilities in the country and bar Musharraf from exiting Pakistan, according to a spokesperson of the Lal Masjid Shuhada Foundation.

The petition further said Musharraf had several important criminal cases pending against him, including one relating to the murder of Rasheed Ghazi and sought to make the federal interior minister, interior secretary, Islamabad's Inspector General Police and the head of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) DIG Khalid Khattak parties to the case.

Rumours and speculations were rife following the interesting turn of events on Jan 2 which saw the former military ruler being rushed to a military hospital in Rawalpindi after developing a cardiac complication while en route to a special court in Islamabad for the hearing of the treason case under Article 6 of the Constitution.

The former dictator was seeking avenues to exit the country and the arrival of the Saudi Foreign Minister next week was linked to the issue, according to the grapevine.

Other skeptics believed that he was avoiding the embarrassment of appearing in a civilian courtroom.

An active swimmer and former army commando, Musharraf is not publicly known to have had any heart issues. The timing of the heart problem immediately sparked accusations that Musharraf was ducking his trial.

Musharraf's spokesman Raza Bokhari said the former military strongman was conscious and “oriented in time and space” and was being examined by military doctors, in an emailed statement.

Doctors later ruled out a heart attack and said that further tests were being conducted while the former president was kept under observation at the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology.

The court later granted the retired general exemption from appearing before it for the day's proceedings and ruled that an arrest warrant was not issued against Musharraf for medical reasons.

The court had earlier ordered for Musharraf to appear before it and warned of issuing arrest warrants against the former president in case he failed to appear.

The order had come after the former military strongman had missed earlier hearings over the case citing security concerns over explosives found on the route from his residence despite summons issued by the special court formed to try him for treason.

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