Pakistan’s former dictator Pervez Musharraf, ordered to appear before a special court in a high treason case, has postponed his return to the country citing security concerns, according to a media report on Monday.
The Dubai-based retired Army general and former president informed of his decision not to return to the country to persons close to him in Pakistan, Geo News reported.
Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, however, issued a statement soon after reports of Musharraf’s decision to postpone his visit to Pakistan were aired by the media, stating that security should not be a concern for the former president.
“The government will provide Musharraf with security as prescribed by the law,” Iqbal said.
“Security should not be a concern for him. He should continue with his plans to return to the country without any hesitation.”
Musharraf, 74, has been living in Dubai since last year when he was allowed to leave Pakistan on the pretext of medical treatment.
He was indicted in March, 2014 on treason charges for imposing emergency in 2007 in the country which led to the confinement of a number of superior court judges in their houses and sacking of over 100 judges.
He has been declared “proclaimed offender” by courts in the treason and the Benazir Bhutto assassination cases.
He is the first general to face trial for treason in Pakistan’s history and if convicted, he could be given life imprisonment or the death penalty.
Musharraf’s legal counsel Advocate Akhter Shah also expressed distrust on the interior ministry for the provision of foolproof security to his client.
Shah said he could not advise his client to return to the country till he was satisfied with the security arrangements for Musharraf.
Pakistan’s Ministry of Defence on Saturday had refused to provide security to Musharraf upon his return to Pakistan, the report said.
According to a letter sent to Musharraf’s lawyer, the “provision of security under the subject case does not fall under the purview of the Ministry of Defence”.
Shah had confirmed the receipt of the letter and stated that he would raise the issue, again, in the special court hearing the treason case against Musharraf.
Shah also expressed distrust on the interior ministry’s ability to provide foolproof security to Musharraf.
A notification issued by the interior ministry on March 19, in response to a plea by Musharraf’s lawyer requesting security, the ministry had said it was willing to provide security to the former president.
On March 16, the special court hearing the treason case against Musharraf had ordered the federal government to put special measures in place to bring the ex-military ruler back from the United Arab Emirates.
The court had ordered that the interior ministry should take action for the arrest of the former military ruler through the Interpol.
The special court had also asked the interior ministry to take action to revoke National Identity Card and passport of the former military ruler.