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Apr 18, 2013 at 12:51pm IST

Pakistan ex-president Pervez Musharraf flees after court orders his arrest

Islamabad: Former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf on Thursday fled away from Islamabad High Court with the help of his bodyguards after the court ordered his arrest. Musharraf was reportedly taken away from the Islamabad High Court complex before he could be arrested after his plea for extension of bail was rejected by the court.

The arrest order was passed in a case related to the confinement of over 60 judges in 2007 when Musharraf was the president. He has been reportedly taken to his farmhouse at Chak Shahzad by his security guards.

A large number of Musharraf's supporters, gathered at the court complex, scuffled with lawyers, who called on police to implement the High Court's order to arrest the former President.

Meanwhile, Musharraf's spokesperson Raza Bokhari said that Musharraf has been under threat. "He is under protection from the Pakistan government. Musharraf will follow all the rules of law. Court has acted clearly not with wisdom. Musharraf has not fled the court. He was escorted by the Pakistan security establishment. In the face of heightened security threat the protection should be augmented and enhanced. I have spoken to him since he returned from the court. He will pursue the legal channel in front of him. There is an appeal process. One can file in the same court, before a larger bench or petition the Supreme Court. It is a matter of procedural thing. Musharraf will go to higher courts. As the trial courts will provide a day of appearance, he will be present before the court. The court ruling came as a surprise to him," said Bokhari.

Musharraf, who returned home on March 24 after nearly four years in self-exile, had personally appeared before a division bench of the Lahore High Court in Rawalpindi for the extension of his bail over allegations that he failed to provide adequate security to Bhutto in 2007.

A Pakistani court on Wednesday extended Musharraf's bail over the assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto. The Taliban had also threatened to target him.

Musharraf's efforts to seek election to parliament from four seats suffered major setback after his candidature was rejected in all four constituencies for which he had filed nomination. The tribunals barred the former general from contesting the May 11 polls from two constituencies in the Pakistani capital and Punjab province.

The tribunals comprising High Court judges upheld decisions by Returning Officers to reject Musharraf's nomination papers for two National Assembly constituencies in Islamabad and Kasur.

The development came a day after another election tribunal dismissed Musharraf's appeal against the rejection of his nomination papers for a parliamentary constituency in the southern port city of Karachi.

Musharraf had filed appeals in the tribunals against the Returning Officers' decisions but these were rejected by the judges. The Returning Officers had rejected Musharraf's nomination papers after receiving objections to his candidature on the ground that he had violated the constitution by imposing emergency rule in 2007.

With Additional Inputs from PTI