Former President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf on Thursday was freed on bail after nearly six months in house arrest but he continues to be barred from travelling out of Pakistan.
Two days after a court in Pakistan granted him bail in the last major case against him over the killing of Lal Masjid cleric Abdul Rashid Ghazi, Musharraf submitted two surety bonds of Rs 1 lakh each. His lawyer Ilyas Siddiqui said, "Musharraf is a free man now."
However, the 70-year-old former President is still on the Interior Ministry's Exit Control List, which bars those included in it from travelling abroad.
Musharraf had been under house arrest at his sprawling villa on the outskirts of Islamabad since mid-April and aides said the notification declaring it a "sub-jail" would be withdrawn soon.
"The sub-jail will be denotified soon. Musharraf will hold a media briefing soon," Aasia Ishaque, spokesperson for his All Pakistan Muslim League party, told PTI.
Staff from Rawalpindi's Adiala Jail continued to be deployed at the farmhouse in Chak Shehzad as APML leaders and supporters gathered outside and distributed sweets. A large media contingent too was present. Ahmed Raza Kasuri, a senior member of Musharraf's legal team, said his release was not part of any deal.
Besides the Lal Masjid case, Musharraf has been granted bail in three other cases over the assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto in 2007, the killing of Baloch leader Akbar Bugti in a 2006 military operation and the imposition of emergency in 2007. The cases were filed after he returned to Pakistan from self-exile in March to revive his political career.
However, a court barred him from contesting polls for life. His inclusion in the Exit Control List notwithstanding, Musharraf's party said he had no plans to travel abroad.
"Whether his name is on the list or not, he is not going to leave the country. He will hit the streets soon and start his political campaign," Ishaque said.