independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Musharraf flees as arrest ordered

Pakistan's former president and military ruler Pervez Musharraf has fled after his bail conditions were revoked (AP)

Former Pakistani military ruler Pervez Musharraf is apparently holed up at his private compound on the outskirts of Islamabad after a court revoked his bail in a case in which he is accused of treason.

Local TV broadcast footage of the dramatic scene in which Musharraf fled from the court and sped away to his large compound on the outskirts of the capital that is protected by high walls, razor and guard towers.

He was shown jumping into a black pick-up truck to escape as a member of his security team hung to the side of the vehicle.

The case at Islamabad High Court involved Musharraf's decision to suspend the constitution and declare a state of emergency in 2007. He also placed senior judges, including the chief justice of the Supreme Court, under house arrest.

Musharraf obtained pre-arrest bail before he returned to the country last month after four years in self-imposed exile, meaning he could not be arrested when he landed - a feature of Pakistan's legal system. But Islamabad High Court refused to extend that bail and has ordered his arrest, police said. Officers were deployed at the court to detain the former military ruler but he managed to escape.

Dozens of police and elite commandos later blocked the main road leading to the compound where Musharraf was holed up and residents were asked to use another route to go to their homes.

About 20 Musharraf supporters who gathered near the compound held banners and shouted slogans in favour of the former military ruler.

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 to make a political comeback despite legal challenges and Taliban death threats, but has since faced paltry public support.

A court in the north-western city of Peshawar on Tuesday disqualified him from running in the parliamentary election scheduled for May 11, squashing his hopes for political comeback.

Musharraf's lawyer, Ahmad Raza Kasuri, complained that the Islamabad court did not listen to their arguments. "It is a one-sided decision," said Mr Kasuri.

Press Association

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