Pakistan's former military leader Pervez Musharraf flees court as it orders his arrest

Before officials could act, the former commando was hurried away by his security team and sped off in a black SUV

Chak Shazhad

He returned saying he would save Pakistan. He ended fighting to save himself.

Pakistan’s former military leader Pervez Musharraf was last night facing ignominy and disgrace having fled from an Islamabad court that had ordered his arrest. Some reports suggested that the farmhouse to which he fled could be declared a “sub-jail”.

Earlier in the day, in scenes that bordered on farce, judges at the Islamabad High Court ordered that bail he had been granted by another court should be revoked and that police should take him into custody. But before they could act, the former commando was hurried away by his security team and he sped off in a black SUV.

After leaving the court, the 69-year-old Mr Musharraf made his way to his farmhouse at Chak Shazhad, an upscale neighbourhood outside of Pakistan capital. The Mediterranean-style property complete with a running track and a swimming pool was built with retirement in mind in 2008. Mr Musharaff's lawyer told reporters the former president was inside enjoying a cigar.

But late on Thursday, it emerged that the country's caretaker government had announced its support for the court's decision and the Express Tribune newspaper reported Mr Musharraf's farmhouse was to be declared a sub-jail.

Mr Musharraf's lawyers said they will appeal to the supreme court on Friday to challenge the lower's court's decision. They tried to do so on Thursday, but ran out of time.

Thursday's development was the latest humiliating twist in Mr Musharraf's faltering attempt to restart his political career since he returned to Pakistan last month after almost four years of exile in Dubai and London. It raised further questions about his judgement in deciding to return to the country.

Earlier this week, an election tribunal ruled that his attempt to contest the Chitral constituency seat - three other seats he had applied to contest had already been rejected - was invalid. He was hoping to appeal to the supreme court but few expected he would succeed.

But even on Thursday night, Mr Musharraf continued to press his case. In a video message recorded at his farmhouse, he said: “Why I am being stopped form pursuing politics in Pakistan. Is it because I brought progress to Pakistan and added to its security?”

Despite the slim nature of his support on the ground, Mr Musharraf has never lacked for bluster or self-belief. When he returned to Karachi on March 24 on a flight from Dubai, a journey he made despite death threats from the Taliban, he declared he had come to “save Pakistan”.

Experts said Mr Musharraf's plight could create fresh problems for his former comrades in the military. “The army leadership will be involved in it. They cannot get away from it. They were involved in the decisions he took,” said Talat Masood, a former general.

Mr Masood said the army's current leadership was among those who urged Mr Musharraf not to return to Pakistan. “I doubt very much the army will interfere. It will create fresh problems,” he added. “It is difficult for the army to defend Musharraf at this time.”

In a statement posted on Mr Musharraf's social media page, a spokesperson, Dr Raza Bokhari, claimed the former president had been escorted back to his home by security guards “in the face of specific and credible physical threats to his life by the enemies of Pakistan”.

“We expect this unwarranted judicial activism, motivated by personal vendettas since his return to Pakistan to participate in the upcoming elections, will cease and the supreme court, without prejudice, will immediately grant necessary relief following precedence and the rule of law,” added the spokesperson.

The case over which he faces arrest relates to allegations that he committed treason when when he sacked up to 60 judges, among them senior figures including the chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, and declared emergency rule as he struggled to hold on to the reins of power in November 2007.

He also faces a series of other legal challenges relating to his alleged role on the killing of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and provincial leader Nawab Akbar Bugti. He has denied all the allegations.

While the return of Mr Musharraf has sparked interest among the media, especially the international press, analysts said Mr Musharraf had little support in Pakistan and that his return appeared drive largely by his ego. Voters are due to go to the polls in a general election on May 11.

News
The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised
people
Life and Style
tech

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts

Sport
football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Bloom Time: Mira Sorvino
tvMira Sorvino on leaving movie roles for 'The Intruders'
News
First woman: Valentina Tereshkova
peopleNASA guinea pig Kate Greene thinks it might fly
News
Brian Harvey turned up at Downing Street today demanding to speak to the Prime Minister
news

Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and that no-one was arrested

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
films

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Voices
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'
voices

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Life and Style
The charity Sands reports that 11 babies are stillborn everyday in the UK
lifeEleven babies are stillborn every day in the UK, yet no one speaks about this silent tragedy
News
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)
news

Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination

Life and Style
Northern soul mecca the Wigan Casino
fashionGone are the punks, casuals, new romantics, ravers, skaters, crusties. Now all kids look the same
Life and Style
gaming

I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Year 5 Teacher

£80 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Year 5 Teacher KS2 teaching job...

Software Developer

£35000 - £45000 Per Annum Pensions Scheme After 6 Months: Clearwater People So...

Systems Analyst / Business Analyst - Central London

£35000 - £37000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Analyst / Busines...

Senior Change Engineer (Network, Cisco, Juniper) £30k

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Senior Change ...

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Salisbury ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities

The city is home to one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, along with the world’s oldest mechanical clock
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album