ISLAMABAD: A heavy political cost weighed on the government’s mind while deliberating on the request of retired General Pervez Musharraf to be allowed to fly out of Pakistan after indictment in a high treason case.
“In the presence of an earlier ruling of the Supreme Court, we had little room to go beyond it,” a senior cabinet member who actively participated in the discussions chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Musharraf’s plea on Tuesday.
The government, he said, would have been proceeded against for contempt of court if it had cancelled Musharraf’s name from the Exit Control List (ECL) ignoring the judicial direction.
Some prominent lawyers had represented the petitioners before the apex court when it had ordered placing Musharraf’s name on the ECL.
However, it is generally believed that the court order provided to the government a valuable justification to escape a heavy political cost that it was bound to pay by accepting Musharraf’s petition.
This is what some of the attendees, who were present in the important session, conceded in private conversations.
“As a political government, we have to keep in mind all the time political implications of all of our moves, including issues relating to the former dictator,” one of them said.
However, another participant corrected that it were not two but four discussants, who talked about permitting the retired general to go abroad to see his ailing mother and get medical treatment.
“The prime consideration behind this opinion was to throw aside a needless irritant.” But he made it clear that the intention of none of the four figures, who propounded a different opinion, can be and should be doubted.
“They advanced their own cogent reasons. The views of everyone about what damage Musharraf did to Pakistan and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) are loud and clear.”
The prime minister even said that the plaintiff in this case was the nation of Pakistan and not the government because the sanctity of the Constitution was involved.