Video: Musharraf flees after bail revoked

posted at 10:01 am on April 18, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Yesterday, I wrote a short piece in the Green Room about the strange comeback attempt of Pervez Musharraf in Pakistan. Despite facing potential charges of treason and corruption from his years as dictatorial ruler, Musharraf returned to Pakistan under an advance-bail arrangement allowed in their legal system. Today, Musharraf and his legal team tried to arrange that bail permanently, and got a large — and unpleasant — surprise:

Pervez Musharraf, the one-time Pakistani military ruler who said he was not afraid to face jail when he returned to his homeland last month, raced away from court with his security detail Thursday after a judge ordered his arrest in a treason case against him.

Local broadcast footage captured scenes of Musharraf taking flight in a black SUV with a member of his detail perched on the bulletproof vehicle’s side. The dramatic turn represented yet another blow for the former president, who went into self-exile in 2008 facing impeachment for increasingly autocratic efforts to remain in power.

The Islamabad High Court revoked Musharraf’s bail Thursday in a case focused on Musharraf’s suspension of the constitution and declaration of a state of emergency in November 2007, an ultimately futile effort to staunch rising opposition to his nine-year rule. He sacked judges, ordered political foes arrested, and put the chief justice of the Supreme Court under house arrest.

In earlier rulings, the court said those actions amounted to treason and declared Musharraf an offender subject to arrest if he came back to Pakistan.

Musharraf, who returned last month to launch what many analysts called a hopeless and ill-advised bid to become prime minister, has met a tepid and sometimes hostile reception from voters. And his campaign hopes were torpedoed earlier this week when a top court in northwestern Pakistan barred him from running for the only parliamentary seat that he stood a chance of winning.

CNN has footage of Mr. Musharraf’s wild ride, noting that he got assistance in escaping from court not just from his own security team, but also from government troops stationed at the courthouse.  Nic Robertson wonders whether that may give Musharraf some hope of prevailing at the Supreme Court, but considering his track record there, I’d doubt it:

Musharraf is back on his compound outside of Islamabad, but without the bail in place, one has to wonder for how long.  As I noted yesterday, there seems to be a peculiarity among deposed strongmen that compels them to return to seek popular absolution and a return to power, such as the case of Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier.  If Musharraf is wise, he’d be looking at exit strategies and retirement villas, but then again, a wise man wouldn’t have come back in the first place.

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Appropriate theme music.

geojed on April 18, 2013 at 10:07 AM

Musharraf Day replaces Groundhog Day.

Shy Guy on April 18, 2013 at 10:10 AM

But you can call me “Perv”.

The Rogue Tomato on April 18, 2013 at 10:19 AM

I wouldn’t count him completely out, that Pakistani Rangers helped him flee suggests that he still has support in the Pakistani Army.

That’s been the source of many a Latin American dictators power.

He may well be done..

but the Army helping him doesn’t bode well against a coup.

mark81150 on April 18, 2013 at 10:20 AM

Brave Sir Robin…

Khun Joe on April 18, 2013 at 10:22 AM

If at first, you don’t succeed (via the vote), then use the military to take back power.

The Pakistani military, and ISI in particular may well be feeling the pressure of being caught in the middle of all the shenanigans being played out by the political movers recently.

Just a random thought.

OldEnglish on April 18, 2013 at 10:33 AM

One thing about Musharrif – he kept the barbarians under better control.

TerryW on April 18, 2013 at 10:37 AM

“As I noted yesterday, there seems to be a peculiarity among deposed strongmen that compels them to return to seek popular absolution and a return to power, such as the case of Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier.” – E.M.

How on earth can you cogently, and more importantly logically, compare Musharrif to Duvalier, Ed? Musharrif was a stabilizing force while Duvalier was a brutal Third World dictator who would have been an Øligula money sponge if given the chance?
The United States will rue the day it turned its back on Musharrif, Mubarek, etc., etc., AND, never forget, S. Vietnam’s Diem(?) whom JFK assassinated.
Meanwhile, back in D.C., OUR money is funding terrorists in Syria.
Up is now Down, and Down is now Up.
Through the Looking Glass … but darkly.
~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on April 18, 2013 at 10:52 AM

Baboo!! Sad to think that this tool was our only “friend” in that country. Maybe he can open an international cafe in Manhattan or something.

abobo on April 18, 2013 at 11:27 AM

As I noted yesterday, there seems to be a peculiarity among deposed strongmen that compels them to return to seek popular absolution and a return to power, such as the case of Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier.

They run out of money. At least the kind of money they were used to.

Vince on April 18, 2013 at 11:27 AM

If Musharraf is wise, he’d be looking at exit strategies and retirement villas, but then again, a wise man wouldn’t have come back in the first place.

Why are you so determined to ridicule him, Ed?

Let us remind ourselves that Pakistan is one of the most wretched countries on the planet … a country founded to be a show case of Islam, and hence doomed from the outset. A country with many uneducated people whose minds have been conditioned in the fatalism and nihilism of Islam and whose allegiances are determined by ancient tribal loyalties. A country that was bogged down in the swamps of corruption.

Mr Musharaff wanted to change that and has tried hard to do so.

He has kept going despite three assassination attempts, cleaned up swathes of corruption, tried to crack down on Islamic militants. Despite having the army on his side he didn’t start a civil war when he was evicted but left in a moderately dignified fashion. He hasn’t been a Saddam, a Gadaffi, or a Mugabe, nor even an Ahamedinejad.

He is a Pakistani in body, heart and mind so it is stupid to expect him to have Western values and western priorities. Moreover, given the quantity and diversity of excrement he has been trying to clean-up it is unreasonable to expect him to have kept his hands spotlessly clean; deals have to be done, compromises made, enemies brought on side … and yet even in that environment of twisted morality and personal greed, he hasn’t been found corrupt like so many others, including other Pakistani leaders.

He has shown a commitment and a courage of a sort that hasn’t been seen in Western politics for a long time.

And all you can do is insinuate that he is a fool lusting after power?

YiZhangZhe on April 18, 2013 at 12:42 PM

“Musharraf flees after bail revoked”
…with AT LEAST several BILLION DOLLARS of US ” Pakistan aid” money in his secret bank accounts, this despicable despot should be able to live a life of excessive luxury ALMOST at the level that MOOCH and OBOZO enjoy at the expense of us taxpayers.

TeaPartyNation on April 18, 2013 at 2:28 PM

Yes, mock the last decent leader Pakistan had who was willing to resist the radicals, why not demonstrate your lack of knowledge of the country and the region – we’ve only been deeply involved with them for 35 years of so.

It is clear Musharraf hoped the military might still have enough power to install him as President again. The attempt to run for Parliament was to give them a cover for elevating him. But the country’s judiciary is more interested in covering their own power bases – and avoiding assassination by the islamists.

Adjoran on April 18, 2013 at 2:31 PM