Musharraf’s Saudi visit dreams dashed

MusharafKARACHI: Government of Pakistan has decided to reject former military ruler, General (Retd) Pervez Musharraf’s request to allow him to go to Saudi Arabia to condole the demise of King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, who breathed his last on Januray 23 after suffering from a serious bout of pneumonia, reported.

Last week Musharraf, in a written request, had urged the Ministry of Interior to lift a travel ban –slapped on him back in the day– for just one day so that he could fly to Saudi Arabia and pay his commiseration to the royal family in person.

According to sources in the ministry, legal complications have tied the hands of the government, which was earlier considering cutting the ex army chief a day’s slack so that he could travel to Riyadh.

“Musharraf’s cannot be given a respite as taking his name off the travel ban list was not possible,” sources quoted an official, who requested anonymity, as saying.

Musharraf’s name is currently on Exit Control List (ECL) for he is facing multiple high-profile cases in the courts of law.

ECL is a system of border control maintained by the Government of Pakistan under the Exit from Pakistan (Control) Ordinance. Those persons on the list are prohibited from leaving Pakistan.

A Pakistani court on January 14 indicted Pervez Musharraf over the 2006 killing of a separatist leader, the latest legal hurdle facing the former military ruler since his return from self-imposed exile two years ago.

The charges by the court in the southwestern city of Quetta are unlikely to cause any immediate problems for the 71-year-old, who has not attended a single hearing in the case since it began in 2013.

He was previously indicted for treason in March last year over his imposition of emergency rule in 2007, but proceedings have stalled since then as the country’s civil authorities and judiciary appear to lack the will to take on the powerful military.

Musharraf has been staying with his daughter in Karachi where he travelled for tests at a navy-run hospital in April last year and the indictment took place in his absence.

He is on bail in four other major cases linked to his time in power including the 2007 assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto in a gun and suicide attack.

Facing impeachment following the 2008 elections, Musharraf resigned as president and went into self-imposed exile in Dubai.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s authority has been eroded since a movement to topple him over alleged election fraud began last year, and analysts believe his government now lacks the will to offend the military by pushing for Musharraf’s prosecution.

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