Court orders arrest of Pakistan's Musharraf

Pakistan's former President and military ruler Pervez Musharraf in Islamabad, Pakistan. Photo / AP
Pakistan's former President and military ruler Pervez Musharraf in Islamabad, Pakistan. Photo / AP

Former Pakistani military ruler Pervez Musharraf and his security team pushed past policemen and sped away from a court in the country's capital on Thursday after his bail was revoked in a case in which he is accused of treason.

Local TV broadcast footage of the dramatic scene in which Musharraf jumped into a black SUV and escaped as a member of his security team hung to the side of the vehicle.

This week has gone from bad to worse for Musharraf, who seized power in a military coup in 1999 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 to make a political comeback.

But 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 political comeback hopes.

He has also faced a raft of legal challenges since he returned.

The case before the Islamabad High Court on Thursday 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, 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 on Thursday and ordered his arrest, said police officer Ali Asghar. Policemen were deployed at the court to detain the former military ruler, but he managed to escape, said Asghar.

A spokeswoman for Musharraf, Saima Ali Dada, confirmed that the court rejected his bail. His legal team is trying to decide his next move, said Dada.

- AP

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