ECL in focus as Musharraf’s mother hospitalised

Updated March 30, 2014

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— File photo
— File photo

ISLAMABAD: After 95-year-old Zarin Musharraf, mother of the former military ruler, was admitted to the W.W. Wilson Hospital in Sharjah on Saturday, his sympathisers here speeded up efforts for removal of his name from the exit control list (ECL).

According to sources close to Pervez Musharraf, he may go to the UAE to see his ailing mother. The former president was admitted to the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology (AFIC) after suffering heart stroke on Jan 1 while going to a special court.The sources said the matter was being taken up with the government and his legal team was examining an order issued by the Sindh High Court (SHC) on his petition on Dec 23.

In the order, the SHC made it clear that placing Gen Musharraf’s name on the ECL “was an act of the federal government” and not consequent to a directive “of this court”.

The SHC rejected Gen Musharraf’s petition and observed that the Supreme Court in its order of April 8 last year had asked the interior secretary and the inspectors general of police of the four provinces to ensure that if his name was not on the ECL, “this shall be done forthwith”.

The special court rejected on Jan 31 a petition seeking cardiac treatment of Gen Musharraf abroad, saying “it does not possess power of judicial review of administrative actions as available to the high court”. “The jurisdiction of special court is confined to within the limits prescribed under the High Treason Punishment Act 1973 and Criminal Law Amendment (Special) Act of 1976.”

On Jan 5, Gen Musharraf’s wife Sehba submitted an application to the interior ministry for allowing him to undergo treatment abroad, but the ministry rejected the plea.

Faisal Hussain, counsel for Gen Musharraf, told Dawn that the ministry had rejected the application and the matter had again been brought before the special court.

However, Mohammad Ali Saif, another lawyer of Gen Musharraf, said he was considering filing a plea for ‘revision’ before the secretary. “We are considering the option of contacting the federal government in this regard.”

But serving a warrant on Gen Musharraf for his indictment in the high treason case on Monday also depends on permission by doctors treating him in the AFIC to leave the hospital for the court hearing.

The court issued a warrant for Gen Musharraf on March 14 and asked the Islamabad police to execute it. It asked the government to present him on March 31 after arresting him if he refused to appear before the court to face indictment in the high treason case.

Some officials believe that in case of refusal by the AFIC doctors to allow the former president to travel to the court, police could arrest him and detain him in the hospital till further orders.

According to police officials, a team constituted for the purpose will go to the AFIC on Monday morning, along with the SHO of Rawalpindi’s RA Bazaar police station, and serve the warrant.

If the doctors refuse to allow the police to take him to the court, they would have to issue a certificate describing Gen Musharraf’s health condition and advising that he is unable to travel, the officials added.