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Pakistan’s Musharraf Flees Court After Arrest Order

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In one of the more bizarre events to befall Pakistan’s election season, Pervez Musharraf, the former military dictator, fled the Islamabad High Court building today after a judge ordered him arrested for treason. Musharraf and his security detail literally hustled out of court and, as numerous police watched, jumped in a black SUV and fled.

Musharraf had been in exile in Dubai until recently. He was desperate to return to Pakistan but had no intention of going to jail when his plane landed, so his lawyers arranged a “pre-bail” on the various charges against him. Musharraf, determined to “save” Pakistan, believed his country would welcome him with open arms. Instead Pakistanis were lukewarm and sometimes hostile. Meanwhile his enemies in the judicial system—who had not forgotten that in 2007 Musharraf declared a state of emergency, arrested lawyers, and put the popular Chief Justice under house arrest—agitated to have him thrown in jail. Musharraf’s hopeful return to politics also suffered another blow when a court in northwestern Pakistan barred him from running for the only seat he stood a chance of winning.

Now Musharraf hides behind the thick walls of his sprawling farm outside Islamabad while his lawyers shuttle back and forth to various meetings, trying to arrange a bail extension. The authorities, comically, issued another arrest warrant, this time for the crime of fleeing court.

Unfortunately, the humor in this bewildering situation disguises something not funny at all. Pakistan is a country with nuclear weapons. Much of the country is in open revolt against the government, in one form or another. Its civilian leaders are mostly corrupt and its military fosters brutal terrorists who slaughter innocent minorities and prepare for war with India. No one appears able or willing to turn the country away from this dangerous path. Musharraf was hardly the man for the job anyway.

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