Pakistan's government was yesterday ordered to lift a travel ban on former military ruler Pervez Musharraf in a court decision that could draw a line under a raft of legal troubles.
Musharraf has been battling several court cases -- including treason charges for imposing emergency rule in 2007 -- since he returned to Pakistan last year to contest elections, stoking tensions between civilian authorities and the powerful military.
His exit from Pakistan could help ease those tensions at a time when the country is fighting a resurgent Taliban following a brazen attack on Karachi's airport this week that left dozens dead.
Presiding judge Muhammad Ali Mazhar of the Sindh High Court in Karachi said the ban "placing the name of retired General Pervez Musharraf on the Exit Control List is struck down."
"The operation of the judgement is suspended for 15 days so that the respondent (the government) may file appeal before the Supreme Court."
Musharraf has said he wants the travel ban lifted so he can visit his sick mother in Dubai, but many in Pakistan see it as a ruse to flee the country and avoid the litany of criminal cases dating back to his 1999-2008 rule.
But his lawyer Farogh Naseem said: "Musharraf does not want to live like a convicted man. If he is allowed to leave Pakistan, he will come back whenever he is needed."
The 70-year-old former commando has been staying with his daughter in Karachi since April, where he travelled for tests at a navy-run hospital.
He has been undergoing medical treatment since January, when he was rushed to hospital after suffering heart problems on his way to court for a hearing.