Islamabad - A court trying Pakistan's former military ruler Pervez Musharraf for treason on Friday refused to allow him to go abroad for medical treatment, saying it had no authority to lift his travel ban.
The 70-year-old is facing treason charges, which can carry the death penalty, over his imposition of a state of emergency in 2007 while he was president.
Musharraf has been in a military hospital since falling ill with heart trouble while travelling to the special treason tribunal on January 2 and his lawyers had argued he needed specialist treatment abroad.
The former general's name is on the official “exit control list”, meaning he cannot leave Pakistan.
There had been speculation that he would be allowed to go on medical grounds as part of a deal to head off a clash between the government and the all-powerful military, which is seen as reluctant to have its former chief tried by civilians.
But after hearing medical reports from the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology in Rawalpindi, neighbouring Islamabad, where Musharraf is being treated, the court said it was not in its power to let him leave.
“It is not in the jurisdiction of this court to allow him to go abroad for treatment, because his name is on the exit control list,” the order read by a court official said.
Musharraf was originally summoned to come before the court on December 24 but has yet to put in an appearance, due to security scares and ill health.
On Friday the court issued a warrant for his arrest and ordered him to appear at the next hearing, on February 7.
Pakistan's current Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was the man Musharraf ousted from power in his 1999 coup, and his lawyers have said the treason case is an attempt to settle old scores through the courts.
In addition, Musharraf faces an array of other criminal charges dating back to his 1999-2008 rule, including for the murder of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in December 2007. - AFP