Musharraf barred from leaving country

Pakistani court refuses to allow former military ruler to go abroad for medical treatment and issues arrest warrant.

    Musharraf faces several criminal charges dating back to his time in power [AP]
    Musharraf faces several criminal charges dating back to his time in power [AP]

    A court in Pakistan trying former military ruler Pervez Musharraf for treason has refused to allow him to go abroad for medical treatment, saying it did not have the authority to lift his travel ban.

    The court on Friday issued a warrant for Musharraf's arrest and ordered him to appear at the next hearing on February 7, setting his bail at Rs 2.5m ($20,000).

    There had been speculation that Musharraf, who faces several charges relating to his time in power, would be allowed to leave Pakistan on medical grounds as part of a deal to head off a clash between the government and the military.

    But after hearing medical reports from the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology in Rawalpindi, where Musharraf is being treated, the court said: "It is not in the jurisdiction of this court to allow him to go abroad for treatment, because his name is on the exit control list."

    The 70-year-old is facing treason charges over his imposition of a state of emergency in 2007 while he was president. He also faces separate charges of murder and detaining judges.

    He is the first former military ruler to face trial for treason in Pakistan and, if found guilty, could be sentenced to death or life in prison.

    Musharraf, who governed Pakistan from 1999 until 2008, has been in a military hospital since falling ill with heart trouble en route to court on January 2. His lawyers had argued he needed specialist treatment abroad. 

    Security scares have also delayed the trial, which was due to start on December 24.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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