World / Asia-Pacific

Pakistani court conditionally lifts Musharraf's travel ban

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-06-12 17:07

ISLAMABAD - A court in Pakistan on Thursday lifted a government's travel ban on former military President Pervez, however, operation of the order will remain suspended for 15 days if the government files an appeal against the verdict.

Legal experts say the order could pave the way for Musharraf's going abroad but it now depend on whether the government challenges the verdict.

The government has barred Musharraf from leaving the country on the plea that he currently faces high treason and several other criminal cases. He has got bails in all cases.

The former president had moved a high court in the port city of Karachi against the government ban with three arguments that the government has no substantial ground to bar him from going abroad and he wants to get medical treatment abroad and to look after his ailing mother in the United Arab Emirate.

Musharraf's defense lawyer, Farogh Nasim, said the court has accepted Musharraf's plea and ruled that the government's decision to put his name on the ECL was not appropriate. He said the government has now discretionary powers either to accept the order or goes into appeal.

"If the government has no policy of victimization, then the government should show grace and withdraw its decision of barring Musharraf from going abroad,"Nasim told reporters after the verdict. He said Musharraf would return to the country as he wants to clear his name in all cases against him.

He had insisted Musharraf should be allowed for treatment in the United States. He had also wanted to proceed to the United Arab Emirate to inquire about the health of his mother, who is undergoing treatment abroad.

The government's lawyers had opposed removal of Musharraf's name from the Exit Control List during previous hearing and argued that he faces serious cases and that he would not return to the country.

The two-member bench of the Sindh High Court had given the federal government 15 days to decide if it challenges the judgment in the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The court ruled that if the government did not challenge the verdict then it would be implemented.

The Supreme Court had earlier rejected Musharraf appeal against travel restrictions and argued that the government can make a decision on the issue.

Musharraf's defense lawyer Ahmed Reza Kasuri welcomed the court 's order but said he is astonished at suspension of its operation.

Hamid Khan, a senior legal expert, opposed the court's verdict and said Musharraf presently faces the high treason and other cases and he has "no right to get such privilege."

The Sindh High Court disposed off Musharraf's travel ban case, but another court in the city of Rawalpindi Thursday ordered Musharraf to appear on July 1st in the murder case of religious scholar Abdul Rashid Ghazi, who was killed in a military raid on the Islamabad's Red Mosque in 2007.

Judge Wajid Ali Bukhari also rejected Musharraf's exemption plea as his defense lawyer Akhtar Ali Shah insisted that his client is ill and cannot appear.

The court ruled that action will be taken against guarantors if Musharraf failed to appear on the next hearing.

Musharraf, former army chief, had dismissed the previous government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in 1999, ruled the country as the chief executive and president until 2008. He had gone into exile since then and returned to the country in 2013 to run in parliamentary elections. However he was disqualified by the court.

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