ISLAMABAD — Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf was forced to flee a courtroom today moments after judges ordered his arrest, dealing a fresh blow to his fast-fading hopes of reviving his political career at next month’s general elections.
Musharraf’s hasty exit from the Islamabad High Court seemed to symbolise the diminished influence of a former army chief who once dominated Pakistan’s political landscape, but whose bid to stage a triumphal comeback has garnered widespread scorn.
The order pushed Pakistan’s increasingly audacious judiciary into uncharted territory, challenging a long-standing, unwritten rule that the top ranks of the army, which ruled Pakistan for decades, are untouchable.
“Islamabad High Court has cancelled Musharraf’s bail and ordered his arrest,” Mohammad Amjad, secretary-general of Musharraf’s All Pakistan Muslim League party, told Reuters.
Amjad added that Musharraf’s lawyers would lodge an appeal against the arrest order at the Supreme Court later in the day.
Despite Taliban death threats and a host of legal challenges, Musharraf returned from almost four years of self-imposed exile in London and Dubai last month in the hope of winning a seat in the National Assembly at the May 11 polls.
But his arrival has placed him at the mercy of judges whose memories are still raw of a showdown in 2007 when he sacked the chief justice, placed his colleagues under house arrest, and lawyers fought running battles with police.
Musharraf’s hopes of standing in the elections were dashed earlier this week when election officers barred him from standing, in part due to the various legal challenges he faces.
Today, a judge ordered he be detained in connection with allegations he committed treason during his 2007 confrontation with the judges when he declared emergency rule, a move which violated the constitution. (Reuters)