Thursday, 18 April 2013

Pakistan's Former President Pervez Musharraf Is On The Run After Fleeing Court Hearing Where His Bail Was Revoked

Pakistan's former President Pervez Musharraf was rushed out of the courthouse in Islamabad and into a waiting SUV this morning
Pakistan's former President Pervez Musharraf was rushed out of the courthouse in Islamabad and into a waiting SUV this morning

Former Pakistani military ruler Pervez Musharraf is on the run after fleeing a court in the country's capital to avoid arrest after his bail was revoked, police said.
Officers were deployed at the court building in Islamabad but Musharraf's security team rushed him out and put him in a black pick-up truck before they could detain him.
The court rejected his bail in a case related to his decision to suspend the constitution and declare a state of emergency in 2007, police spokesman Ali Asghar said.
A spokeswoman for Musharraf, Saima Ali Dada, said his legal team is trying to decide the next move.
Local television broadcast footage of Musharraf jumping into a black SUV and escaping as a member of his security team clung to the outside of the vehicle. Meanwhile lawyers shouted 'Look who is running, Musharraf is running!'
He sped away to his large compound on the outskirts of Islamabad that is protected by high walls, razor wire and guard towers.
This week has gone from bad to worse for Musharraf, who seized power in a coup in 1999 when he was serving as army chief and spent nearly a decade in power before being forced to step down in 2008.
He returned last month after four years in self-imposed exile in Britain to make a political comeback despite legal challenges and Taliban death threats, but has since faced paltry public support.
A court in the northwestern city of Peshawar on Tuesday disqualified Musharraf from running in the parliamentary election scheduled for May 11, likely squashing his hopes for political comeback.
The case before the Islamabad High Court today involved Musharraf's decision in 2007 to detain senior judges, including the chief justice of the Supreme Court, when he declared a state of emergency and suspended the constitution.

Musharraf fled to his heavily-guarded compound on the edge of the city after evading arrest today
Musharraf fled to his heavily-guarded compound on the edge of the city after evading arrest today
The decision outraged many Pakistanis, and further fueled a nationwide protest movement by lawyers that eventually resulted in Musharraf stepping down under the threat of impeachment.
Before he returned to the country, Musharraf obtained pre-arrest bail for the judges' case and two others, meaning he could not be arrested when he landed - a feature of Pakistan's legal system.
The Islamabad High Court refused to extend that bail today and ordered his arrest, said police officer Ali Asghar.
The court previously agreed to extend his bail in the casefor six days on April 12. It's unclear why they chose to reject it this time.
Musharraf's lawyer, Ahmad Raza Kasuri, complained that the court didn't listen to their arguments, saying: 'It is a one-sided decision' that he would challenge.
Musharraf's decision to flee the court could put the Pakistani army in an awkward situation. The former general is protected by paramilitary soldiers who officially report to the Interior Ministry, but are headed by senior army officers.
Ali Dayan Hasan, the director of Human Rights Watch in Pakistan, called on the military authorities protecting Musharraf to comply with the court's order and ensure that he presents himself for arrest.
'General Musharraf's act today underscores his disregard for due legal process and indicates his assumption that as a former army chief and military dictator he can evade accountability for abuses,' said Hasan in a statement sent to reporters.
'Continued military protection for General Musharraf will make a mockery of claims that Pakistan's armed forces support the rule of law and bring the military further disrepute that it can ill afford,' Hasan said.
Pakistan has a long history of the army seizing power in military coups, and the service is considered the most powerful institution in the country.
If convicted of treason, Musharraf could face the death penalty or life in prison. But the federal government would have to file charges against the former military ruler, which it has not yet done.
The petitions in Islamabad High Court accusing Musharraf of treason were all filed by individuals.
Musharraf faces similar accusations from petitions filed before the Supreme Court. He also faces legal charges in two other cases.


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