Musharraf departs for Dubai after travel ban lifted

Published: March 18, 2016
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Musharraf have flown by the private airline under the flight number of EK-611. PHOTO: AFP

Musharraf have flown by the private airline under the flight number of EK-611. PHOTO: AFP

Former president Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf flew to Dubai early Friday for medical treatment after a three-year travel ban was lifted.

Musharraf boarded an Emirates flight bound for Dubai that departed from Karachi airport at 3.55 am (2255 GMT) an airport source told AFP, adding the retired general appeared “relaxed”.

“He was the last person to be embarked on the plane and then the gate was closed,” the source said.

Musharraf free to fly away

A large convoy of police and paramilitary rangers left Musharraf’s home in Karachi around 3:30 am as a decoy to waiting media crowding his street, while the general travelled to the airport separately.

Lawyers for the former president, who is facing multiple charges including treason and murder over the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, have said he needs urgent medical treatment not available in Pakistan.

“I am going abroad for treatment but will return to face the cases against me,” a party spokesman in Karachi quoted him as saying. “I am a commando. I love my motherland.”

“Six to eight weeks are required for the treatment and then he would go back home,” said Dr Amjad Malik, a spokesman for Musharraf’s All Pakistan Muslim League party in Dubai.

Musharraf was banned from leaving Pakistan in March 2013 after he returned to the country on an ill-fated mission to contest elections. The former ruler was barred from taking part in the polls and instead faces a barrage of legal cases.

SC upholds SHC decision to remove Musharraf’s name from ECL

On Thursday, the government agreed to strike Musharraf’s name off the no-fly list. A day earlier, the top court declared the ex-president could travel abroad.

“The government has decided to allow Musharraf to travel abroad for medical treatment. He [Musharraf] has also committed that he will face all cases against him in court,” the interior minister announced on Thursday at a news conference.

Chaudhry Nisar said the government was removing the retired general’s name from the Exit Control List (ECL) under the directives of the Supreme Court.

The former president’s lawyers have committed before the apex court that he will return to the country after four to six weeks, he added.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court rejected the federal government’s two-year-old appeal against the Sindh High Court’s decision to remove Musharraf’s name from the ECL.

The former president reserved a seat with a foreign airline at 4:30am Thursday but the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) intervened, saying he would not be allowed to travel unless the government removed his name from the no-fly list. The booking had to be cancelled.

“Today his lawyers moved a proper application for removing his name from the ECL, after which the government decided to allow him to go abroad for treatment following the apex court judgment,” Nisar said at the media briefing.

The minister added the detailed judgment on this case was not received but the decision to remove Musharraf’s name from the ECL was taken as per the apex court’s ruling.

Nisar said every decision had some motives but there was no confusion regarding the case against the former military ruler.

Govt challenges SHC’s decision to remove Musharraf’s name from ECL

Without taking its name, the interior minister criticised the Pakistan Peoples Party for censuring the government like if the government would lose the right to govern if Musharraf was allowed to go abroad.

“What did they do during their five-year tenure despite booking Musharraf over Benazir Bhutto’s murder?” Nisar questioned. “We initiated the treason case against him and opposed every move for removing his name from the ECL. Everyone including the government has to follow the verdict of Supreme Court.”

If the government, he added, is willing to allow Musharraf to travel abroad, it would not have filed appeals against the judgment of first the lower court and then the high court orders.

He also brushed aside speculation of any clandestine deals behind the decision to allow Musharraf to leave the country.

“The prime minister has no personal grudges against Musharraf and he has pardoned him for whatever he did with him,” Nisar clarified.

He added the government now did not put anyone’s name on the no-fly list. The powers have been delegated to the National Accountability Bureau, FIA and the defence headquarters.

Musharraf challenges his non-bailable arrest warrants

Musharraf’s name was put on the ECL after he returned to Pakistan in 2013, hoping to lead his party into the general elections.

He was, however, disqualified from contesting the polls and found himself fighting an array of charges relating to his time in power.

Musharraf was the army chief when he seized power in a coup in 1999. He was the president till 2008 when a democratically elected government came into power and ousted him. He left the country to live in self-imposed exile in Dubai and London.

The charges relate to the former general’s imposition of a state of emergency in November 2007 and the assassination of former PM Benazir Bhutto the same year. Musharraf, 72, denies all the charges and has termed them “politically motivated”.

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Reader Comments (28)

  • Asad
    Mar 18, 2016 - 5:11AM

    NOW they’ll place his name on ECL … Recommend

  • Zaida
    Mar 18, 2016 - 5:54AM

    Why blame politicians when the “Jernails” are the same. Break the law and run. Justice is for the poor man.Recommend

  • Brainy Bhaijan
    Mar 18, 2016 - 6:08AM

    Good bye and please never come back.Recommend

  • Naeem Khan
    Mar 18, 2016 - 6:21AM

    The sad part is that these leaders never saw to it to a have a first class medical facility in Pakistan so they could avail the treatment at home. By deliberately neglecting to have a good medical facility gives them an excuse to leave the country when ever they are facing legal troubles. This guy has willfully violated the constitution of Pakistan and now he flew the coop, we also know the case of Mr.Haqqani who promised to come back but never did. The Supreme Court had the precedence of Mr.Haqqani and how could they let General Musharraf go, it seems that the laws only apply to the down trodden and common citizens of Pakistan.Recommend

  • Pushy
    Mar 18, 2016 - 6:24AM

    Bhaag Mushy bhaag !Recommend

  • Afzaal Ansari
    Mar 18, 2016 - 8:51AM

    the deletion of Pervaiz Musharf name from ECL is the indication of vacillation of PML-N Govt. from the constitution and rules. It is dire reality that none of hospital in Pakistan for the normal treatment of the elite / Govt. The medical treatment from abroad of the Govt. is within the rule and constitution and is against rule and constitution for others. It is real form of dire hypocrisy. Recommend

  • Observer
    Mar 18, 2016 - 8:56AM

    The man who evaded court-proceedings by not traveling two-hours flight to Islamabad, citing his health-conditions, is now able to travel to Dubai and then London. “Pakistan First”Recommend

  • sabi
    Mar 18, 2016 - 9:03AM

    Ten yeas of rule and he didn’t build a single hospital which could treat him. Sab se pehlay Pakistan -Shame on you. He came to rule and enjoy his life.Recommend

  • Asad
    Mar 18, 2016 - 9:39AM

    Like a BOSS!! He will return whenever he wants to..Recommend

  • Jameel ur Rasheed
    Mar 18, 2016 - 9:59AM

    So the furious commando flees the nation in the name of his old health. Disregard to his political motives and fiascos, the commando has nothing to his name, professionally, other than total sub-ordination of the Chief Executive, breach of the constitution and killing the statesmen in the name of security operations. Poor guy!Recommend

  • Rumormonger
    Mar 18, 2016 - 10:10AM

    Khair naal jaa, tay khair naal aa.

    “Having said that” disregard the part of the statement after the punctuation.Recommend

  • Raj - USA
    Mar 18, 2016 - 10:18AM

    Mushy gone. First he claimed that his mother has been admitted in hospital and wanted to leave for UAE to see her. Now he himself became sick. His Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz is serving Indian business tycoon Lakshmi Mittal. His ISI chief Gen. Pasha is serving Arab sheikhs. Recommend

  • Last Man Alive
    Mar 18, 2016 - 11:05AM

    Brave commando.

    The Founder of NRO.

    Finally escapes the law.Recommend

  • Parvez
    Mar 18, 2016 - 12:18PM

    He goes from airplane to home……instead of the hospital…so how sick is he ?Recommend

  • Pakistaniat
    Mar 18, 2016 - 12:54PM

    All those gloating about him running away, I can tell u that he will be back and then everyone on this board will go back in their shell Recommend

  • Xnain
    Mar 18, 2016 - 1:44PM

    It’s strange nobody said,”Thank you Raheel Sharif” for this…This would have been the most appropriate occasion to say so. Recommend

  • Rex Minor
    Mar 18, 2016 - 3:00PM

    @Naeem Khan:
    The sad part is that these leaders never saw to it to a have a first class medical facility in Pakistan so they could avail the treatment at home. By deliberately neglecting to have a good medical facility gives them an excuse to leave the country when ever they are facing legal troubles.stan

    From what one knows, your comments are not justified. Pakistan has the world class hospitals as well as highly qulified and trained physicians and surgeons, the globalised pool of expertise is available to patients whenever needed and via the internet link. The bIndian born former general has a masters in survival technique which every commando is rained in..

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • Haji Atiya
    Mar 18, 2016 - 3:07PM

    @Pakistaniat:
    Don’t worry, then they’ll say he is nuts to return ! A case of *amned if you do and *amned if you don’t. Go figure.Recommend

  • Last Man Alive
    Mar 18, 2016 - 3:41PM

    Amazingly upon reaching

    Dubai Mr. Musharraf has convened a party meeting in the evening and we

    thought he was in immediate need of extensive

    medical care.

    God did you have to burden

    us with all the lairs and low characters

    in this world ? Recommend

  • Rex Minor
    Mar 18, 2016 - 5:03PM

    @Last Man Alive:
    God did you have to burden us with all the lairs and low characters
    in this world ? .

    There are always lessons to be learnt from experience. Never allow a bod born ond utside the country with a complete foreign culture fo become the army chief and then President of the republic. Democracy in the land reuqires compulsary education for all and a national army made up of volunteers aof conscripts. Your army is on record having acted against all countrys institutions and have internaly displaced its citizens throughout Pakistan history and without impunity,

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • iBurnol
    Mar 18, 2016 - 6:12PM

    Less try for the treason the leaders who gave defense and security secrets to India, Now! As Ch Nisar said ” We didn’t ask you to come back?”. There is a message in that; “Don’t come back!” General! Show your loyalty to some one else, Sir! This is the land of Traitors ,Mean haters, Bullies and Thugs. It’s the land of robbers and abusers, killers, school children and healthcare worker bombers, sword wielding religious fanatics who are bent on head chopping. Here bravery and honesty is considered as cowardice! No merciful and honest person can stay here! Recommend

  • hamza khan
    Mar 18, 2016 - 7:22PM

    @Parvez:

    he needs a surgery..he’s not dying. stop being ignorant.Recommend

  • hamza khan
    Mar 18, 2016 - 7:24PM

    @Last Man Alive:

    he is not dying God forbid. and has the right to meet his party ppl if he so wished. get a life. Recommend

  • curious2
    Mar 18, 2016 - 8:17PM

    Chaudhry Nisar said the government was removing the retired general’s name from the Exit Control List (ECL) under the directives of the Supreme Court.
    .
    We recently read an ET article where the SC indicated it was up to the govt not the courts to determine who was on ECL. Someone apparently isn’t telling the truth – Nisar has no credibility.Recommend

  • NHA
    Mar 18, 2016 - 11:41PM

    It is a correct decision under the circumstances. Pakistan needs stability and development. There is no point in quarrelling over everything.
    The politicians must learn to govern which they do not do. Mere clamouring for the right to rule is not enough and is not going to give them legitimacy. The so-called mandate is dubious as no one politician accepts and recognises the right and mandate of the other. Ganging up against the Military will not grant any legitimacy. Recommend

  • faisal
    Mar 19, 2016 - 12:47AM

    this man is a disgrace to pakistanRecommend

  • Humza
    Mar 19, 2016 - 5:53AM

    @NHA: The problem is that by letting a dictator run away you set a precedent. What lesson does it send to the next would be dictator? Just take a gun, violate the constitution, rule without regard for anything and make Pakistan look like just another unstable Muslim nation ruled by a strong man because the concept of democracy is so alien to Muslims. I for one do not want Pakistan to be an Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan or Somalia. We all want to see a Pakistan based on the constitution and democratic mores. After all that’s where real national strength comes from. A decade of Musharraf was when the nation saw the worst instability and now look how only two terms of democracy has Pakistan looking like a shining star in the world as one of the few extant Muslim democracies. PML N made a big mistake in letting Musharraf get away with treason.Recommend

  • imran malik
    Mar 19, 2016 - 6:57AM

    One word describes the man “Buzdil!”Recommend

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