Former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf has left the country for medical treatment in Dubai after the Supreme Court lifted his travel ban. Musharraf, who faces treason charges, has been suffering from spine-related problems for the past few weeks and has vowed to return to Pakistan after the treatment.
The former military ruler boarded an Emirates flight, which is expected to touch down in Dubai at about 5.20am local time. "I am a commando and I love my homeland. I will come back in a few weeks or months," he told Pakistani daily Dawn just before boarding the aircraft. His lawyers said spinal treatment for him was unavailable in Pakistan.
The interior ministry said Musharraf was allowed to travel after his lawyers gave an assurance that he would return after the treatment. "The government has decided to allow Musharraf to travel abroad for treatment. He has also committed he will face all cases against him in court," said Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan.
The 72-year-old former president returned to Pakistan in 2013 after a self-imposed exile in Dubai, just ahead of the general election. Treason and other charges related to his imposition of an emergency in 2007 were filed against him immediately upon his arrival. An year later, courts placed an order barring him from travelling out of the country. He has also been linked with the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.
The former dictator, who is scheduled to record his testimony on 31 March in front of a special three-member judicial panel, has denied all the charges and called them politically motivated.