court lifts Musharraf travel ban
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[June 12, 2014]
By Syed Raza Hassan
KARACHI (Reuters) - A Pakistani court on
Thursday ordered the government to lift a travel ban on former military
ruler Pervez Musharraf, his lawyer said, paving the way for him to leave
the country in 15 days' time.
Musharraf, who has faced a battery of court cases - including a
charge of treason - since returning to Pakistan from exile last
year, has been waiting since April for a decision to lift the travel
His departure from Pakistan would remove a source of friction
between the country's powerful generals and the government of Prime
Minister Nawaz Sharif, as well Pakistan's increasingly assertive
"The travel ban on Musharraf has been struck down by the Sindh High
Court," lawyer Farough Naseem said. "But the order will be effective
after 15 days, during which time the government can appeal this
decision in a higher court."
Sharif's government has so far resisted allowing Musharraf to leave
the country, saying it is a decision for the courts. Musharraf
deposed Sharif in a coup in 1999, and memories of that are still
fresh in Sharif's team.
Musharraf's lawyers say the former ruler wants to travel abroad for
treatment, and to visit his ailing mother in Dubai.
But many believe it is a ruse to flee the country and avoid
punishment if convicted of charges over his suspension of the
constitution and imposition of emergency rule in 2007, when he was
trying to extend his tenure.
Musharraf, who seized power in 1999 and resigned in 2008, pleaded
not guilty to five counts of treason in April.
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The ex-general is also on bail in three other major cases, including
the 2007 assassination of prime minister Benazir Bhutto and the
murder of a Baluch nationalist leader Nawab Akbar Bugti in 2006.
The progression of the cases so far is a victory for the
increasingly independent judiciary.
Judges are increasingly challenging the fledgling civilian
government and even the powerful military, which has ruled Pakistan
for more than half its history since independence in 1947.
(Writing by Mehreen Zahra-Malik; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)
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