Exile in the making: Musharraf may leave country under ‘clandestine deal’

Published: January 3, 2014

Former president Pervez Musharraf. PHOTO: AFP

Former president Pervez Musharraf. PHOTO: AFP Pakistani supporters of the country's former military ruler Pervez Musharraf gather outside the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology in Rawalpindi on January 2, 2014. PHOTO: AFP
ISLAMABAD: 

If sources close to General (retd) Pervez Musharraf are to be believed, the former president is likely to fly out of the country as part of a ‘secret deal’.

The move would be a repeat of events in 2001 when incumbent Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family were sent to Saudi Arabia under a deal. Almost 13 years on, Musharraf would be trading places with Nawaz. The sole difference between then and now is that Musharraf would be allowed safe passage on health grounds, sources privy to the development said.

Just like the 2001 agreement, the 2014 deal is being brokered by international players, the sources told The Express Tribune.

Legal experts, however, say the former military ruler cannot leave the country without the court’s permission.

Unless the Supreme Court reviews its decree on federal guarantees over former president Pervez Musharraf’s presence in the country, the government cannot lift travel curbs against him, according to some experts.

The court, in its order of April 8, 2013, directed the government to make sure Musharraf remained in the country until initiation of a criminal case against him for subverting the Constitution.

“The interior ministry cannot remove Musharraf’s name from the ECL, even if Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif passes an executive order instructing it to do so,” said senior advocate Ali Zafar.

He pointed out, though, that anyone whose name was put on the ECL ‘illegally’ had the legal right to challenge the move in court. “Musharraf can only leave Pakistan when the apex court orders the interior ministry to remove his name from ECL.”

Former interior secretary Tasneem Noorani supported Zafar’s opinion. “I do not think it is possible for the interior ministry to remove his name from the list unless the court reviews its order,” he said.

On the other hand, Ibrahim Satti, who pleaded Musharraf’s case, claimed that it was the government which put his client’s name on the ECL. “No court order exists in this regard,” he told The Express Tribune.

‘Under doctors’ advice’

Barrister Muhammad Ali Saif, one of the lawyers defending Musharraf before the special court, indicated that they might request the court to allow the former president to leave the country for medical treatment.

“If the doctors advise taking him [Musharraf] for treatment abroad … a submission will be made before the court to allow him to leave the country,” Saif said. A source close to Musharraf disclosed that he had been preparing to leave the country to take care of his ill mother just days before a three-member special court was constituted to try him for treason charges.

“General Sahib did not expect the government to proceed against with the treason [indictment],” the source said, adding that Musharraf had been confident about leaving the country after securing bail in the other cases he was facing. But after the special court summoned him for trial under Article 6 of the Constitution for imposing emergency rule in 2007, he began approaching his friends ‘both inside and outside the country’, to deal with the issue, the source said.

The source said the former army chief Gen (retd) Ashfaq Parvez Kayani strongly opposed Musharraf’s trial. He added that Kayani’s successor has also privately conveyed his concerns to the government over the ‘singling out’ of his former boss in connection with the case.

“There is concern within the rank and file of the army that Musharraf is being politically victimised,” a recently retired senior army officer said on condition of anonymity. He also revealed that Musharraf had been meeting serving army officials over the past few days to discuss the treason case.

The military’s media wing was unavailable for comment when approached. Government officials insisted that Musharraf was not in the government’s custody and it was up to the court to decide his fate. Officials also strongly denied that any country, including Saudi Arabia, Britain or the United States, approached the government for Musharraf’s ‘safe passage.’

However, sources close to Musharraf claimed that Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al Faisal, who is arriving in Islamabad on Monday, will discuss the treason case with the government.

Saudi rulers, who were close to Nawaz as well as Musharraf, have been involved in high-profile political deals in the past.

However, the foreign office officials claimed that his visit was planned much ahead of the developments related to Musharraf’s trial.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 3rd, 2014.

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Reader Comments (44)

  • theOnlySane
    Jan 3, 2014 - 3:38AM

    ET I am going to save a copy of this page and if it doesn’t happen I am so going to rub it on your face.
    Let’s see if you have the balls to publish this post!

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  • shah
    Jan 3, 2014 - 4:01AM

    Pakistan…the land where everything is bent, nothing is straight.

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  • sabi
    Jan 3, 2014 - 4:23AM

    Wishful thinking on the part of his supporters.Deal at this stage without trial would be the loss of democracy and it would further strengthen the belief that generals are above law.I don’t think he will be released without seeking pardon if not proper trial.Government can offer heart experts from abroad if locals are not considered fit for job which they are.

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  • Zeshan
    Jan 3, 2014 - 4:28AM

    This is what I was expecting from mein darta warta kise sy nhi hoon(Musharaf)
    Thank you Musharaf for not disappointing me.

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  • sabi
    Jan 3, 2014 - 4:30AM

    Question is not Musharaff but which is above the line law or general.Deal would definitely mean general is above law.Nobody will like to accept it.Hence rare chance of plain deal.

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  • Amer
    Jan 3, 2014 - 4:41AM

    All these politicians and generals know are secret deals. Enough of this dealing under the table and lets get it all in the open for once.

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  • Malik Hamza
    Jan 3, 2014 - 5:04AM

    Jiya Cheetah.
    Trolls and haters making conspiracy theories and will continue to do so.

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  • Zif
    Jan 3, 2014 - 5:10AM

    Let him go. we don’t want another shaheed on our hands because then this emotional nation would vote him (or his party) into power and believe me, he does not deserve that. Be prudent and let anonymity of tomorrow swallow him… at least for another 4 years till next election. BTW, has anyone noticed that in this drama the rucous of PTI has drowned somewhere. Was this Musharaf trial drama surposely staged by Ch.Nisar???

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  • naeem khan Manhattan Ks
    Jan 3, 2014 - 5:12AM

    “Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al Faisal, who is arriving in Islamabad on Monday, will discuss the treason case with the government”.Saudis has damaged Pakistan to the extent that we are reaping the benefit of their brand of Islam. they should stop interfering in Pakistan’s internal affairs and keep out, we know how they deal with the US, subservience comes to mind and in turn they think that Pakistan is subservient to them. This government must not allow any one to dictate and that includes Saudis and Americans but Nawaz and company are looking after their investments there and not the interests of the country. If the law and the constitution is not upheld now, there are others waiting in the wings to topple another democratically elected government in connivance with foreign powers, Generals Zia, Ayub and Musharraf could not have staged a military coupe with out the blessing of US and their lackeys like Saudis.

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  • Malik Hamza
    Jan 3, 2014 - 5:52AM

    ET did not publish my comment , this show ET love for sharifs and zardari

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  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Jan 3, 2014 - 6:22AM

    I think we should kick him out of the country, otherwise he will keep on disgracing himself and his institution.

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  • ahmed
    Jan 3, 2014 - 7:07AM

    Musharaf simply took special drug to temporarily create this kind of heart condition to make yet another excuse after his failure with the bomb planting drama near his mention by his men. Generals cannot be above the law. It is simple as that.

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  • assad
    Jan 3, 2014 - 9:03AM

    @Zif:
    Ahsaan faramosh won’t remember him but those who have served with Musharraf, those who benefited (and there were millions and millions of Pakistanis who did) will always remember him as someone who took Pakistan to heights that no democratic government of Pakistan has been able to take the country to.

    In his time, us Pakistanis carried ourselves with pride. There was a promise and a desire to push Pakistan upwards. It was because of Musharraf that we felt that way. He defined Pakistaniat for us with “Pakistan first!”. He represented us on international forums like no one else and more than anything else, unlike the vultures and hyenas that rule over us today, he accepted his mistakes and made amends. That is what set him apart from the rest of trash that we have “leading” Pakistan today.

    Musharraf was the only statesman Pakistan has been blessed with in the past 20 years. None of the current crop come even close.

    May God judge him on what he was able to deliver to the people of Pakistan and may God bless Musharraf for what he tried to do for Pakistan!

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  • Tab
    Jan 3, 2014 - 9:44AM

    All his life Musharraf has been running away…nothing new

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  • THE
    Jan 3, 2014 - 10:49AM

    The only problem is that Mushy cannot fake any heart attacks in the highest court in this universe which will be heard on the day of judgement infront of all of our creator, Allah Subhanhu Wataala. What excuse will he give there for selling out so many Pakistanis?

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  • Kamran Khan
    Jan 3, 2014 - 11:04AM

    @shah: law is bent in front of the powerful int his country

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  • salim
    Jan 3, 2014 - 11:04AM

    @ahmed:
    You seem to know a lot. Which drug did he take?

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  • Truther
    Jan 3, 2014 - 11:28AM

    @THE: his army will come to his rescue i guess

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  • Anoni
    Jan 3, 2014 - 11:33AM

    If that happens then it simply mean you can twist any thing. and the judicial system is broken

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  • Jbm
    Jan 3, 2014 - 11:40AM

    Let him go , so we can focus and fix the real problems that our country is facing

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  • salman
    Jan 3, 2014 - 11:54AM

    This country is not safe for anyone. Musharaf should be sent abroad at any cost. Common man is with you, Musharaf.

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  • lkhan
    Jan 3, 2014 - 12:11PM

    The treason trial of Musharraf in effect would open a Pandora’s box that Pakistan can do without at this stage. He came to the country, we all know what he has gone through during the past months, his reactions amply show what he is about, he ought to be allowed out of the country at this stage. Pakistan has very grave problems that need the government’s and judiciary’s full attention such as mass arrests of extremists and their trials to give some closure to the 50,000 plus families; the economy; energy shortage; more… Time should not be wasted on lesser issues…

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  • Iman
    Jan 3, 2014 - 12:35PM

    The sooner he leaves the better. They are enough problems to worry about than this treason trial.Recommend

  • Capt (R) Majeed
    Jan 3, 2014 - 12:48PM

    Gen (R) musharraf is true Pakistani and soilder. Pride of the nation

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  • Jan 3, 2014 - 1:18PM

    This is just a time wasting activity and nothing else. Leave Musharraf alone.

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  • powvow
    Jan 3, 2014 - 1:27PM

    @theOnlySane – “ET I am going to save a copy of this page and if it doesn’t happen I am so going to rub it on your face”

    ET has already wriggled its way out by using “may” in the headline…. So Musharraf’s departure ‘may’ happen, not sure… but still…
    You lose pal.. ET is win-win.

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  • Parvez
    Jan 3, 2014 - 1:29PM

    This whole episode reflects poorly not only on Musharraf but also on his parent organisation.

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  • Comment8r
    Jan 3, 2014 - 1:54PM

    This is clearly a tit-for-tat game between Nawaz Sharif and Musharraf. Now that he has the power, Mian Sb is trying to settle the score, but he can’t take on the Army which is clearly not in favor of any treason trial & humiliation of its ex-chief. Advice to Mian Sb – leave the General alone and focus on addressing the security and energy crisis crippling the nation. You are much likely to get re-elected if you do something good for the common man then to waste time in settling old scores.

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  • Feroz
    Jan 3, 2014 - 2:21PM

    Yeh, the deals continue to be made while the wheels of the country remain jammed.

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  • Kamran Khan
    Jan 3, 2014 - 4:06PM

    @Capt (R) Majeed: May God save us from such “true Pakistanis and soldiers”

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  • Asad
    Jan 3, 2014 - 5:03PM

    I am amazed as why Army or even some part of its ranks consider Musharraf to be a heroe and are wiling to rescue him. This guy hurt Army the most getting thousands of Soldiers Martyred in the so called War on Terrorism.This guy has blood on his hand for the hundreds of brave men in kargil and many more in waziristan and Wana.I believe Army should rather push forward the cases against him as he damaged this esteemed institution more then any other person or institution

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  • Zif
    Jan 3, 2014 - 5:09PM

    @assad:
    Agreed. But the way he came to power is not right and for that he is being tried, not for doing wonders with the economy. For the very reason I’m asking to let him go and not hanged. No one , no matter how wonderful or having a midas touch, should be allowed to violate the law. Wrong is wrong even if you look at it upside down.

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  • Rex Minor
    Jan 3, 2014 - 5:19PM

    ET moderator, please allow this comment;

    @theOnlySane:

    One can easily confirm your state of mind by putting you in the skinner’s box! With regard to Mr Parwez Musharf state of mind, he needs urgently psychiatric treatment. Pakistan military hospital has a qualified staff to ware that Pakistan does not have mny :
    confirm his illness and such a confirmation will allow his travel to the UK for treatment.

    Rex Minor

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  • Abusalam
    Jan 3, 2014 - 5:34PM

    This is the fate of every Muhajir in Pakistan forget any extent you are Patriotic

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  • Nida Alvi
    Jan 3, 2014 - 6:40PM

    @ Abusalam
    Please don’t bring ethnic prejudice here. It is only a question of high treason prescribed under article-6 of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

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  • Zaheer Abbas Maseed
    Jan 3, 2014 - 7:10PM

    This will be very unfortunate for Pakistan. If he is not punished by the court and current government, Pakistan will never be able to prevent military its main ally the radical clergy from hijacking democracy. His punishment is important for saving Pakistan’s future. Murderers and traitors need to be put behind the bars. This is the only opportunity these timid politicians had in 65 years political history of Pakistan and they are loosing it. Alas!

    Meray watan ki siyasat ka haal mat pocho
    Giri hui hai tawayif tamashbeeno’n mein

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  • Karima Alim
    Jan 3, 2014 - 8:54PM

    Look people, please face up to something I learned through pain and suffering many years ago.

    Pakistan is a country for the rich and corrupt.
    Pakistan is a safe haven for all crooks and terrorists.
    Pakistan is a home away from home for fundamentalists.
    Pakistan army is the only army that never wins a war yet wants absolute authority.
    Pakistani politicians are the most corrupt and incompetent people on the planet.
    If you think you will get justice, peace and change in Pakistan, you are mistaken.

    I advise you to do what I did after I lost my brothers in a cold blooded sectarian murder years ago in Pakistan, which is too pack up my bags, sell whatever assets I had, and move out of Pakistan to start a new life in a new country and practice my faith in peace without being targeted by sick minded people who think they are better than everyone else. No law will help you, no one cares about you except your own family and friends, and no court or leader is sincere with you or the country. Try your luck elsewhere, not only will you become a better Muslim out of Pakistan, but you will also never want to go back to Pakistan ever again.

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  • hamza khan
    Jan 3, 2014 - 11:07PM

    @theOnlySane:

    he’s not going anywhere. agree 100% but ET will never admit that it will be wrong.

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  • Rex Minor
    Jan 3, 2014 - 11:07PM

    @Karima Alim

    The grass is greener in the neighbours garde. You were not fully integrated in Pakistan, therefore your frustration with what we call he gee society of cousins. As soon as you are fully integrated in the adopted country, you will see the Genie there as well.

    Rex Minor

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  • hamza khan
    Jan 3, 2014 - 11:08PM

    @THE:

    PLEEASSE! keep the stupid right wing jamaat islami/PTI nonsense to yourself.

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  • MK
    Jan 4, 2014 - 1:47AM

    @Abusalam:

    Nawaz is from a Mohajir family as well. His family is among 5.5 million mohajirs that settled in Punjab and Musharraf is from 1.5 million that went to southern Sindh.

    But what is your point????

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  • Sandip
    Jan 4, 2014 - 3:04AM

    “He added that Kayani’s successor has also privately conveyed his concerns to the government over the ‘singling out’ of his former boss in connection with the case.”
    That is correct. It is unfair to single out Musharraf for this treatment. In fact, the treason trial should be initiated against the whole lot, past and present, for their involvement in any coups, either directly or through indirect support. Especially the remaining three in the infamous gang-of-four comprisng Muhammad Aziz, Mahmoud and the 111 brigade commander who ordered his brigade into Islamabad should be hauled in as well. There after, it should be the likes of Beg, Hamid Gul and Assad Durrani who were instrumental in misusing their office to subvert the constitution. Just Musharraf’s trial is just not right.

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  • Last Word
    Jan 5, 2014 - 2:51PM

    @theOnlySane:
    If Musharraf leaves the country as being speculated not only by ET but other Pak and international media as well, will you issue an apology to ET for making this most stupid comment ?

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  • Dr.A.K.Tewari
    Jan 5, 2014 - 4:48PM

    He may go abroad but not as an absconder . Musarraf may get permission from the court on health ground since his name in ECL is not by a court order . NRO JUDGES WILL UNDERSTAND THEIR LIMITATIONS TOO !!

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