Former Pakistani dictator Musharraf granted bail

Pakistan's former president Pervez Musharraf speaks during a news conference in Dubai on March 23, 2013. A Pakistani court on Wednesday, Oct 9, 2013, granted bail to Musharraf in a ruling which takes him a step closer to being released from hous
Pakistan's former president Pervez Musharraf speaks during a news conference in Dubai on March 23, 2013. A Pakistani court on Wednesday, Oct 9, 2013, granted bail to Musharraf in a ruling which takes him a step closer to being released from house arrest. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD (REUTERS) - Former Pakistani military dictator Pervez Musharraf can leave the country and fly to Dubai following a decision by a court to grant him bail ending his house arrest, his lawyer said on Wednesday.

“The jail staff present at his house will pack up and leave as soon as they get the orders from the lower court,” Mr Ahmed Raza Kasuri, who heads the Musharraf defence team, told Reuters.

“Musharraf can fly to Dubai tomorrow once these legal formalities are completed.”

A Pakistani court on Wednesday granted bail to former military dictator Pervez Musharraf. His fate has been subject to speculation since he became the first former army chief to be arrested this year, breaking an unwritten rule that the top ranks of the military are untouchable, even after they have retired.

"The bail application is accepted, pending payment of two bail bonds of 1 million rupees (S$11,790) each," the Supreme Court ruled.

Musharraf faces an array of court cases which prevent him from leaving the country but many observers believe a face-saving reason for his departure, possibly on grounds of ill health, will be found.

The current army chief has also suggested the military is unhappy with how authorities have treated Musharraf.

Musharraf was army chief when he took power in a 1999 coup.

He later became president as well. He stepped down after the party of assassinated former prime minister Benazir Bhutto won an election in 2008.

He returned to Pakistan in March after nearly four years of self-imposed exile to contest a May 11 general election, but he was disqualified from standing because of pending court cases.

That election was won by the party of then-prime minister Nawaz Sharif, whom Musharraf ousted in his coup 14 years ago.

The latest bail was granted in connection with the death of a separatist leader in the southwestern province of Balochistan.

Musharraf has already been granted bail in two other cases.