Pervez Musharraf's wife today requested the Pakistan government to lift a foreign travel ban on him even as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said the embattled former military ruler's fate will be decided by a special court.
Musharraf's wife Sehba wrote to the Interior Ministry requesting it to remove her husband's name from the Exit Control List (ECL), sources in the former president's legal team said.
Her application listed several reasons for ending the foreign travel ban, including 70-year-old Musharraf's sudden illness.
Though the Interior Ministry denied it had received the application, a source in the legal team said, "Today is a holiday and they are technically right in saying they have not got it. We are right when we say Sehba Musharraf has written to them."
Sharif told a news channel that Musharraf's fate will be decided by a special court as both the state and the Constitution were party to the former dictator's trial on charges of high treason.
"Since the matter is sub-judice, any comment from my side may not be appropriate. However, other than the case's merit, I do say that the real petitioners in this case are the state and the Constitution of Pakistan," he said.
A senior government official told PTI that only courts could decide about removing Musharraf's name from the Interior Ministry's ECL. "The government cannot do anything. It is up to the court. Even if we want to, we cannot remove the name," the official said.
While being driven to the special court on Thursday to face treason charges, Musharraf had a "severe heart attack" and was admitted to the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology in Rawalpindi. The sudden health scare gave rise to speculation that he might be allowed to leave Pakistan to seek treatment abroad.
The government formed the special court to try Musharraf for imposing emergency in 2007. He skipped the first two hearings convened by the court, citing security concerns after explosives were found near his home.
Musharraf's lawyer Ahmad Raza Kasuri told the media that doctors were monitoring his condition in the intensive care unit and his medical reports had been sent to experts in Britain, who will determine whether further treatment will be done in Pakistan or abroad.
Though the military hospital has not issued any statement on Musharraf's condition, one of the doctors treating him said he was feeling well.
"The General is feeling well and we are conducting his medical checkup at regular intervals...every two hours. It is, however, not decided whether to send him abroad for treatment," Maj Gen (retd) Azhar Kiyani told The Nation newspaper.
Sharif made it clear that Musharraf's case was not "about a particular individual because we are at a juncture in our history where it has to be resolved whether we want to live in a civilised democratic country or not".
"If everybody is equal in the eyes of the law, then every citizen is answerable to a court of law. It is up to the court to decide whether he is innocent or guilty," he said.
Meanwhile, Defence Minister Khwaja Asif brushed aside rumours of a secret deal to allow Musharraf to leave the country. Talking to Geo News, he said such a secret deal was out of the question.
Musharraf is being provided the best medical facilities in the country and his name would not be removed from the ECL at any cost, he said.