A Pakistan special court on Friday has asked the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government to suspend the passport and Computerised National Identity Card (CNIC) of former Pakistan President General (Retd.) Pervez Musharraf in the 2013 high-treason case.
“In case the accused fails to submit his written request as mentioned hereinabove the ministry of interior and all other departments, divisions and agencies of the government of Pakistan are to take positive steps in ensuring the arrest of the accused and attachment of his properties abroad, including suspension of the CNIC and passport of the accused (Musharraf),” a four-page order of the special court read.
If the Pakistan government suspends Musharraf’s passport and CNIC, he will not be able to travel to any country freely.
According to The Express Tribune, prosecutor Akhtar Shah, Musharraf’s counsel, said that his client wanted to appear before the court but he should be provided security by the Pakistan interior ministry.
“This court is alive to the request made by counsel for accused and in case, the accused intends to appear before this court on March 21, he may within seven days approach the ministry of interior in writing for the requisite protection that was offered by the head of prosecution on May 19, 2017,” the order stated.
According to legal experts, the order by the special court is significant as it will help to halt the movement of Musharraf abroad.
However, prosecution head Akram Shah added that the interior ministry was yet to receive any application from the former Pakistan President’s counsel. He has urged the ministry to suspend Musharraf’s passport and CNIC as soon as possible.
The special court in its order was shocked at the inaction of the Pakistan government in taking steps to arrest Musharraf.
“In this regard, the court was informed that the accused is presently residing in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and that there is an extradition treaty between the government of UAE and government of Pakistan which could be invoked to ensure the arrest of the accused and attachment of his properties in UAE,” the order added.
The special court has asked the government to make a requisite request to Interpol for the issuance of an appropriate arrest warrant to Musharraf and for his production before the court. It had also earlier directed the interior ministry to approach the Interpol for the arrest of Musharraf.
Last week, the special court ordered the Pakistan government to arrest Musharraf and confiscate his properties in the high-treason case, wherein he had imposed emergency rule in the country in 2007.
Musharraf, who left Pakistan for Dubai in March 2016, was declared a “proclaimed absconder” by the court in May 2016.
The 74-year-old former president was indicted in March 2014 on treason charges for imposing emergency in Pakistan, which led to the confinement of a number of superior court judges in their houses and sacking of over 100 judges.
Musharraf, who ruled Pakistan for nine years (1999-2008), is wanted in several criminal cases, which also includes the alleged killing of former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in 2007.