Petition filed to stop Musharraf from going abroad

Islamabad, Jan 3: A petition was filed in a Pakistani court on Friday to prevent former president Pervez Musharraf from going abroad for medical treatment.

Petitioner Haroon Rasheed requested the Islamabad High Court to instruct the interior ministry to ensure that the best medical facilities were made available to Musharraf and he should not be allowed to go abroad, Dawn online reported citing a spokesperson of the Lal Masjid Shuhada Foundation.

Haroon Rasheed is the son of former cleric of Islamabad's Lal Masjid, Ghazi Abdul Rashid, who was killed in a security operation in 2007 when Musharraf was president.

The petition also stated that several important criminal cases were pending against the former military ruler, including that of the murder of Ghazi Abdul Rasheed.

It sought to make Pakistan's interior minister, interior secretary, Islamabad's inspecter general of police and the head of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) DIG Kahlid Khattak parties to the case.

The petition was filed after reports Thursday that Musharraf, who was taken to a hospital while he was on his way to a court to face treason charges, might be shifted abroad for treatment.

After failing Wednesday to appear in the special court formed to try him for high treason charges for the second time in 10 days, Musharraf was being taken to the court Thursday when he complained of a "heart problem" and was then shifted to the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology (AFIC) in Rawalpindi.

Media reports cited sources as saying that the option of shifting Musharraf abroad for treatment was under consideration but a decision in this regard would be taken only after the release of his medical report.

Musharraf's name is still on the list of those persons who cannot go abroad without the government's permission. A court had already turned down his request to remove his name from the Exit Control List and advised him to approach the government.

Musharraf's family members are with him at the hospital where doctors had carried out some medical tests.

The former president's international spokesman Raza Bokhari said that he was conscious and oriented in time and space.

"We can confirm that Former President Musharraf is admitted in a military hospital in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. He is conscious, oriented in time and space and is being examined by Pakistani military doctors," Xinhua cited Bokhari as saying a in brief statement in social media.

Justice Faisal Arab, who heads the three-member special court, Thursday later adjourned the hearing until Monday but said the court would issue a verdict on the appearance of Musharraf.

The government had initiated treason charges against the former military president for suspending, subverting and abrogating the Constitution, imposing an emergency in the country in November 2007 and detaining judges of the superior courts. Legal experts say the charges carry death penalty or life imprisonment.

Musharraf complained of a heart problem and was shifted to the hospital.

The defence lawyers had requested the court to delay the hearing by five weeks but their request was turned down.

They had earlier tried to stop the trial on the plea that the special court had no power to try a former army chief and that a military court can try him under the army act.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had announced in June the high treason case against the former military ruler would be initiated for suspending the constitution.

Musharraf had taken over in a bloodless coup when he had dismissed the government of Nawaz Sharif in 1999.

The 70-year-old former army chief currently lives in his farmhouse in Islamabad after getting bail in three high profile cases, including the 2007 assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

Musharraf, who had resigned in 2008 and gone into exile, returned to Pakistan in March this year to take part in parliamentary elections. However, a court disqualified him from standing in the May elections.


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