A Pakistani court has ordered the arrest of former president Pervez Musharraf in connection with charges relating to his clash with the judiciary in 2007 when he was still in power, his spokesperson has said.
Islamabad High Court on Thursday ordered Musharraf be detained in connection with allegations that he committed treason when he sacked senior judges and declared emergency rule as he struggled to hold on to power.
“Islamabad High Court has cancelled Musharraf’s bail and ordered his arrest in the judges’ detention case today,” Mohammad Amjad, secretary-general of Musharraf’s All Pakistan Muslim League party, told Reuters.
Police made no immediate move to enforce the arrest order and Musharraf left the court flanked by his personal bodyguards for his farmhouse on the edge of Islamabad.
Police officer Ali Asghar said security personnel were deployed at the court building, but Musharraf’s security team rushed him out and put him in a car before they could detain him.
Dozens of supporters gathered outside to denounce the decision, shouting “this is injustice,” and “long live Musharraf” as senior members of his political party swept inside the house for talks, an AFP reporter said.
‘Composed and confident’
A spokesman for Musharraf’s All Pakistan Muslim League, said that the former president would appeal against the arrest order in the Supreme Court, but if the order was upheld, then he expected the authorities to put him under house arrest.
“Musharraf is composed and confident. We will go for an appeal in the Supreme Court today. If the court rejects our appeal, we will present ourselves to the law,” APML spokesman Muhammad Amjad told AFP.
“I think if an arrest is necessary, the authorities will declare the farmhouse a sub-jail,” he added.
The case is one of three against Musharraf in Pakistani courts. He is also accused of conspiracy to murder opposition leader Benazir Bhutto in 2007 and over the death of a Baluch rebel leader during a military operation in 2006.
The Supreme Court is also hearing a separate petition from lawyers, demanding that Musharraf go on trial for treason for subverting the constitution by imposing emergency law in November 2007, a move which hastened his downfall.
The former army chief returned to Pakistan last month after nearly four years of self-imposed exile to contest a May 11 general election, despite the possibility of arrest on various charges and death threats from the Pakistani Taliban.
Election officials had barred Musharraf from running for the National Assembly earlier this week, effectively derailing his attempts to regain a place in politics by standing at the polls.
Pakistan’s military has ruled the nation for more than half of its 66-year history, through coups or from behind the scenes. It sets foreign and security policy even when civilian administrations are in power.