ISLAMABAD: The special court on Monday dismissed an application seeking permission for former president Pervez Musharraf to travel abroad – saying that it was not in its mandate to allow or disallow him from travelling.
Filed by Pervez Musharraf’s newly-appointed lawyer Dr Farogh Nasim on Monday morning, the application had stated that the former president needed to travel abroad to visit his ailing mother as well as to get medical treatment himself. It sought the removal of his name from the country’s Exit Control List (ECL).
Interestingly, the court dismissed the pleas saying that that it was for the government to remove Musharraf’s name from the ECL and stressed that there was no bar by the special court on Musharraf’s movement.
The order also went a step further and exempted Musharraf from further appearance before the court after Monday morning’s indictment.
The move seems to have thrown the ball in the government’s court despite the fact that government officials had been saying since the beginning of the trial that Musharraf’s travel requests were for the courts to decide on.
On Monday morning, Dr Nasim told the court that former president’s mother was seriously ill and Musharraf needed to be there with her and that the court should allow him to travel abroad and not indict him today. While the court had already rejected the request to not charge him in the morning, it had reserved its judgement on his travel plea till later.
Later in the day, Defence Minister Khwaja Asif offered to transport Musharraf’s mother from Sharjah to Pakistan via an air ambulance.
Nasim urges govt to remove Musharraf’s name from ECL
Musharraf’s lawyer Farogh Nasim on Monday evening clarified that contrary to media reports, he had not moved two applications while urging the government to remove Musharraf’s name from the exit control list since he was only nominated in a civil or criminal case.
During a press conference he said that the media had wrongly reported that Musharraf could not go meet his mother. Reading paragraph eight and nine of the court order, he said that the court had clearly directed the federal government to review its decision of including Musharraf’s name on the ECL.
“This court has not passed an order to place the name of the accused on ECL,” he read out from the order. “Therefore, the federal government cannot refuse to review its decision merely because of the pendency of the case. It is further made clear that unless an accused in custody, a criminal court cannot restrict his movement.”
He further stated that under Article 15, the freedom of movement is a fundamental right which cannot be negated and a pending civil or criminal case are not grounds enough for negating that freedom.
Nasim stated that according to the court order Musharraf was not taken into custody because he presented himself in court voluntarily.
On March 29, it was reported that Musharraf’s mother, who has been in ill health for some time now, was shifted from Dubai to Sharjah’s W Wilson hospital after her condition suddenly worsened.
Earlier, Musharraf had requested permission to visit his mother, Zahra Musharraf, in Dubai despite having to be in court on March 31, 2014 for a hearing – but this request was dismissed.
Note: This video was sent to The Express Tribune by a staff member of All Pakistan Muslim League – UAE chapter.