x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Pakistan court lifts travel ban of Musharraf

However, Mr Musharraf will not be allowed to leave the country yet as the government has 15 days to appeal the court ruliing.

KARACHI// Pakistan’s government was ordered to lift a travel ban on former military ruler Pervez Musharraf on Thursday in a court decision that could draw a line under a raft of legal troubles.

Under the ruling by a Karachi court, the government still has 15 days during which it can appeal the decision. This means Mr Musharraf can’t leave the country immediately.

Mr Musharraf has been battling several court cases – including treason charges for imposing emergency rule in 2007 – since he returned to Pakistan last year to contest elections, stoking tensions between civilian authorities and the powerful military.

His exit from Pakistan could help ease those tensions at a time when the country is fighting a resurgent Taliban following a brazen attack on Karachi’s airport this week that left dozens dead.

Presiding judge Muhammad Ali Mazhar of the Sindh High Court in Karachi said the ban “placing the name of retired General Pervez Musharraf on the Exit Control List is struck down”.

Mr Musharraf has said he wants the travel ban lifted so he can visit his sick mother in Dubai, but many in Pakistan see it as a ruse to flee the country and avoid the litany of criminal cases dating back to his 1999-2008 rule.

But his lawyer Farogh Naseem said: “Musharraf does not want to live like a convicted man. If he is allowed to leave Pakistan, he will come back whenever he is needed.”

* Agence France-Presse and Associated Press