Pakistan's former president, military dictator Pervez Musharraf, fled from the Islamabad High Court Thursday to avoid his arrest. Apparently quite a spectacle and a Pakistani media highlight-of-the-day, Musharraf drove away from the court in a black SUV as several angry lawyers tried pursuing his vehicle.
According to Reuters, he retreated to a farm in a private residential estate on the outskirts of Islamabad. The police blocked access to his home, but it is yet unclear whether they plan to detain him.
Watch the incident below:
Musharraf, who seized power in a 1999 coup and resigned in 2008, faces charges of illegally arresting top judges in 2007 and accusations that he conspired to assassinate former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. He has denied all of these allegations.
As a former army chief, he has the heavy support of the Pakistani army, which has ruled the nation for most of its history through coups and behind-the-scene control. The verdict and this court case in general are greatly important in challenging the perception that the top ranks of army officials who ruled Pakistan are untouchable and in showing that these individuals are, in fact, accountable to the law.
Last month, Musharraf returned from four years of self-imposed exile in London and Dubai hoping to win a seat in the National Assembly at the May 11 polls. Nonetheless, he has received little support from the public or any leading political parties that might have allied with his All Pakistan Muslim League (APML). He was also banned from standing earlier this week on the basis of the charges he faces.
As a response to this debacle, Human Rights Watch issued a statement demanding that Musharaff face justice.
"General Musharraf's act today underscores his disregard for due legal process and indicates his assumption that as a former army chief and military dictator he can evade accountability for abuses," said Ali Dayan Hasan, the Pakistan director of the US-based group.
Many continue to doubt whether the arrest would be in fact enforced given Musharaff’s connection to the army and the APML.