Rules relaxed to help Musharraf’s departure

Islamabad, April 19 (IANS) Defence lawyers in the case against former president Pervez Musharraf told a Pakistani court that the government allowed the defendant to leave the country by “relaxing the rules”.

An application filed by Major General Rashid Qureshi (retd) on Monday claimed that the Pakistan government had the power to restrict Musharraf’s movements, which “has not been exercised” in this case.

Qureshi, former spokesperson for Musharraf, filed an application to swap the property he pledged as a surety bond to ensure the defendant’s presence during the treason trial, Dawn online reported.

The court had attached the registry of his house in Islamabad but he wanted it to release the registry and replace it with prize bonds worth Rs.2.5 million.

In the application, Qureshi said he was not solely responsible for regulating the movements of his former boss, and the government was also charged with monitoring his movements.

“Exit from Pakistan (Control) Rules 2010 provide a complete mechanism for the situation, which needs to restrict movement of any person from going abroad.”

However, the government did not invoke the relevant provisions of the rules to stop Musharraf from leaving Pakistan, the application said.

It noted that the superior judiciary “did not put any restriction on the movement of the accused in spite of having full and complete knowledge of the order of the court”.

In February 2016, the special court had summoned Musharraf to record his statement but he left the country after the Pakistan government removed his name from the exit control list (ECL).

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had said the former president was being allowed to leave the country in the light of superior court orders.

Qureshi said the five-member bench of the apex court which upheld the removal of Musharraf’s name from the ECL did not place any restrictions.

“It is further submitted that the accused has not absconded or left with the object to defeat the process of the court, but left after getting permission (from government) and removal of his name from the ECL,” the application said.

However, it expressed the hope that Qureshi “firmly believes that the accused will be back as soon as he becomes medically fit.”

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