Asia

Pakistan Supreme Court clears Musharraf to travel abroad

Former president of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf gestures during a news conference in Dubai, in this file picture taken March 23, 2013. Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Pervez Musharraf says he also wants to visit his ailing mother, who is in Dubai

Pakistan's Supreme Court has lifted a travel ban on former President Pervez Musharraf who is awaiting trial for treason and other charges.

The ruling could allow him to travel abroad to seek medical treatment.

The charges relate to the former general's imposition of a 2007 state of emergency and the assassination of former PM Benazir Bhutto the same year.

Mr Musharraf, 70, denies all the charges and has called them politically motivated.

He was treated for chest pains in January and says his condition is now much worse. He was in hospital on Monday and Tuesday with spinal problems.

A spokeswoman promised Mr Musharraf would return to Paksitan if he were allowed to travel.

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Dismissing an appeal by government lawyers, the Supreme Court upheld a high court judgement removing the former military ruler from a list of people barred from leaving the country.

However, it said it was up to the federal government and the special court trying him to decide whether to pass "any appropriate legal order for regulating his custody or movement", Dawn newspaper reports.

Mr Musharraf seized power in a coup in 1999, when he was army chief. He remained president until 2008, when a democratically elected government came into power.

He left the country soon afterwards to live in self-imposed exile in Dubai and London.

However, he returned in 2013, hoping to lead his party into elections - but was disqualified from standing and found himself fighting an array of charges relating to his time in power.

He faces a murder claim for failing to prevent the assassination of Ms Bhutto. Other charges relate to events in the same year - the state of emergency, his suspension of judges during that period and the death of a cleric during a siege at the Red Mosque in Islamabad in 2007.

In January he was cleared over the 2006 killing of Baloch rebel leader Akbar Bugti, his first acquittal in the cases in which he is charged.

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