The Pakistan government has opposed a petition filed by former military dictator Pervez Musharraf seeking the lifting of a travel ban on him to allow him to visit his ailing mother in Dubai.
The government filed its response yesterday to a two-member bench of the Sindh High Court (SHC) over Musharraf’s petition seeking removal of his name from the Exit Control List (ECL).
Musharraf’s lawyer Farrugh Naseem said that the government in its reply said that since the 70-year-old former president was required to make appearances in court in four different cases his name should not be taken off the ECL.
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The government also argued that in some cases Musharraf could face the death penalty and could abscond if his name was taken off the ECL.
The Sindh High Court on April 23 had directed the government to explain why it restricted Musharraf – who is facing multiple trials including one under the high-treason act – from travelling abroad.
The bench comprising Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Shahnawaz Tariq had ordered the Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Salman Aslam Butt to submit a reply from the federal authorities by May 7.
Musharraf’s name was put on the ECL on April 5 last year to ensure that he remains in the country and attends hearings of all the cases he has been named in.
Anyone whose name is on the ECL cannot leave the country without permission.
On March 31, Musharraf was indicted for suspending, subverting and abrogating the Constitution, imposing an emergency in the country in November 2007 and detaining judges of the superior courts.
The former president, who is the first military ruler in Pakistan’s history to be tried in court, has rejected all the charges leveled against him.
He flew to Karachi last month to undergo medical tests.
Musharraf, who returned to Pakistan from self-exile in March last year, was also named as an accused in the murder cases of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in 2007 and former Baloch tribal leader Akbar Bugti in 2006.
He was also named in a case relating to the Lal Masjid operation that was carried out during his tenure.