Pakistani Army chief Gen Raheel Sharif is said to have advised the government to allow former military ruler Pervez Musharraf, indicted for treason, to go abroad for treatment and to look after his ailing mother.
The possible exit of 70-year-old Musharraf was discussed during a meeting between Gen Raheel and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif yesterday. ISI chief Lt Gen Zaheerul Islam also attended the 'informal consultations' to decide the fate of the former President, Express Tribune reported today.
However, there was no official word on the high-level meeting.
"A well-informed security" official told the daily that Musharraf's name should be removed from the Exit Control List (ECL) after a clear verdict by the special court, which is trying the former army chief for treason charges.
Anybody whose name is on the ECL cannot leave the country without permission.
Musharraf was indicted on Monday by a special court hearing the high treason case against him, becoming the first-ever military ruler to face criminal prosecution.
The three-judge special court in its ruling stated it had no objections if the federal government removes travel ban on Musharraf for medical treatment.
"There is no legal issue left now and it is purely a political decision," said the official.
The official said that Gen Raheel told the Prime Minister that Musharraf's case now "should come to a close".
"The sooner the better," the official said, adding that Musharraf's 95-year-old mother was 'seriously ill' and he wanted to be with her at the earliest.
Another official pointed out that since Musharraf had already been indicted, the time had come to "move on", the report said.
"That is the message the army chief has delivered to the government," he added.
Musharraf was admitted to the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology, Rawalpindi, on January 2 after he complained of "heart problem" on his way to the court.
Speculation is rife here that Musharraf is likely to leave the country, as the army headquarters is reportedly pressing the government to pave way for the ex-general's safe exit from Pakistan.