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Pakistan to appeal ruling allowing Musharraf to leave country: lawyer

LiveMint logoLiveMint 14-06-2014 AFP

Islamabad: Pakistan on Saturday appealed to the country’s supreme court to overturn a decision allowing Pervez Musharraf to leave the country, his lawyer said, prolonging the ex-military ruler’s legal woes.

The move came after a court in Karachi ordered the lifting of a travel ban imposed on the 70-year-old last year after he returned to Pakistan in a failed attempt to stand for election.

Musharraf has said he wants the travel ban lifted so he can visit his sick mother in Dubai, but many in Pakistan see it as a ruse to flee the country and avoid a litany of criminal cases dating back to his 1999-2008 rule.

“The federal government has filed an appeal in the supreme court,” Ahmad Raza Kasuri, a member of Musharraf’s legal team, said.

Musharraf has been battling several court cases since his return—including treason charges for imposing emergency rule in 2007—stoking tensions between civilian authorities and the powerful military.

Akram Sheikh, a senior lawyer who is the chief prosecutor in the treason case, confirmed an appeal had come from the attorney general’s office.

“I hope it will be fixed for (hearing on) Monday,” he added.

Thursday’s decision to overturn the travel ban had briefly raised hopes by Musharraf’s supporters of a face-saving deal between civilian authorities and the powerful army that would ease tensions at a time when the country is fighting a resurgent Taliban.

The 70-year-old former commando has been staying with his daughter in Karachi since April, where he travelled for tests at a navy-run hospital.

He has been undergoing medical treatment since January after he was rushed to hospital suffering from heart problems on his way to court for a hearing.

After his indictment for treason in March, Musharraf asked to be allowed to visit his mother, who is in her 90s, but was denied permission.

The former ruler came to power in a bloodless coup in 1999, deposing then-prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who won re-election in 2013 when Pakistan underwent the first civilian handover of power since its independence from Britain in 1947.

Facing impeachment following the 2008 elections, Musharraf resigned as president and went into self-imposed exile in Dubai. He returned to Pakistan in March last year on an ill-fated mission to run in the elections but was barred from participating.

He is also on bail in three other cases linked to his time in power including the 2007 assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, and the murder of Baluch nationalist leader Nawab Akbar Bugti in 2006.

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