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Terrified Musharraf flees Pakistani courtroom for safe house

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
April 18th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Perhaps dashing forever his political prospects in his home nation of Pakistan, former President Pervez Musharraf fled a courtroom after judges ordered his arrest to answer allegations he committed treason in 2007. Television coverage unsparingly depicted of Musharraf dashing from Islamabad High Court in a black SUV. Several lawyers made attempts to pursue his vehicle - a most shameful episode for a man who once ruled his nation with an iron fist.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - It was just the latest in a series of humiliations for Musharraf. Election officers barred him from standing at next month's general elections on account of the various legal challenges he faces, earning him widespread scorn.

Retreating to a nearby farm, Musharraf police set up a cordon restricting access to the area. It's not yet known whether the officers were preparing to detain him.

Musharraf's spokesman Mohammad Amjad called a news conference to announce that his lawyers would petition the Supreme Court on Friday to withdraw the order.

"We will file an appeal against the arrest order in the Supreme Court tomorrow," Amjad said. He added that Musharraf was "composed and in good spirits."

In spite of Taliban death threats and a host of legal challenges, Musharraf returned from almost four years of exile in London and Dubai last month in the hope of winning a seat in the National Assembly at the May 11 polls.

His is currently at the mercy of judges whose memories remain vivid of the showdown in 2007 when he sacked the chief justice, placed his colleagues under house arrest and lawyers fought running battles with police.

A judge ordered his arrest in connection with allegations he committed treason when he declared emergency rule during his 2007 confrontation with the judges.

Judges applied more pressure on Musharraf this week when they summoned the head of Islamabad police to explain how he was able to flee the court without being detained.

Musharraf, who seized power in a 1999 coup and resigned in 2008, is expected to be arrested since the military would be unlikely to tolerate such a humiliating spectacle for a retired chief.

The military made no immediate comment on the arrest order.

Furthermore, Musharraf's is said to command little, of any popular support and the outcome of the drama is unlikely to have much impact on the final results.

Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the man Musharraf ousted in a coup in 1999, is seen as the frontrunner to become prime minister.

Pakistan's military has ruled the nation for more than half of its 66-year history, through coups or from behind the scenes. The military here forges foreign and security policy even when civilian administrations are in power.

Pakistan's judiciary has taken an increasingly assertive stance in recent years in confrontations with both the government and the army, and the arrest order against a former army chief is sure to rankle some in the military.



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