Lawyers shouted, “Look who’s running! Musharraf is running!” as Mr. Musharraf fled from the court.
During the previous week, the most humorous drama in Pakistan in the recent times started with the announcement in the Islamabad High Court to arrest Pervez Musharraf — who had returned after four years of self-imposed exile to contest for the general elections in May to ‘save the country’. This was despite the possibility of arrest on various charges and threats from the Pakistani Talibans — in a move painted as retribution for the former leader’s controversial decision to illegally detain Pakistan’s top judges during the emergency rule in 2007. But farcically the Pakistani judiciary and police have beaten the Taliban when it comes to threatening by cancelling his appeal for bail along with the verdict to arrest.
But who dares to arrest the former Army Chief and President? Musharraf lost no time in fleeing from the court premises in a black, bullet-proof SUV with tinted glasses. Escorted by his bodyguards, Musharraf zoomed out of the premises as security personnel looked on and the TV cameras whirred away. Musharraf jumped into the car while a member of his personal security team hung to the side of the speeding vehicle. So either the former military man was too fast or the Pakistan police was too slow. Take your guess!
But where did the SUV go? He knew of these challenges when he decided to return boldly to Pakistan, and hence strategically planned to keep himself safe. It reached his farmhouse in Chak Shahzad in the suburbs of Islamabad, protected by high walls, razor wires and guard towers. The general is here to stay. The police were supposed to carry out the arrest, but they were reluctant to do that in the court; and now — as per reports, the farmhouse has been surrounded by the police, the way has been blocked and the place is now declared a sub-jail. But Rashid Qureshi, an adviser to Musharraf, said that the roadblocks have been planted outside his house by the police to protect him, not to prevent his exit.
Making the whole situation funnier, Ahmad Raza Kasuri, Mr. Musharraf’s lawyer, complained that the court didn’t listen to their arguments by saying that it was a one-sided decision. And so, the former military ruler’s legal team will contact the Supreme Court and challenge the decision. But what can the former Chief possibly be doing during these hours after his successful escape to his farmhouse? He must be having nice time, living life lavishly, after all he must have been homesick all this while!
The story is yet to develop. Meanwhile, as the world manages to find humour in this activity, let us allow Musharraf to sip some coffee and curl up with a book, possibly one on taking over the world. Or he could probably write a book where he could provide people tips on how they could flee successfully.