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A supporter raises the portrait of former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf as he and others chant slogans outside a court in Islamabad Feb. 18, 2014. (Anjum Naveed/Associated Press)
A supporter raises the portrait of former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf as he and others chant slogans outside a court in Islamabad Feb. 18, 2014. (Anjum Naveed/Associated Press)

Pakistani court allows ex-President Musharraf to travel abroad Add to ...

A Pakistani court on Thursday struck down a government order barring former military ruler Pervez Musharraf, who faces treason charges, from leaving the country. The ex-president’s court victory, though, was tempered because the government can still appeal.

The ruling by the Karachi court could pave the way for the man who ruled Pakistan for nearly a decade to leave the country after an embarrassing trial that saw him become the first chief of army staff to face treason charges.

It also puts the Pakistani government, whose decision to push for Musharraf’s trial put it at odds with the powerful military, in a tricky position where it must decide whether it wants to further anger the military by trying to keep Musharraf from leaving the country.

Under Thursday’s ruling by a Karachi court, the government has 15 days to appeal the decision. This means Musharraf can’t leave the country immediately. The court gave no reason for striking Musharraf’s name from the exit control list, which prevents people from leaving the country, usually in legal cases.

The 70-year-old Musharraf ousted then-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government in 1999.

Musharraf resigned as president in 2008. He later left the country, but returned to Pakistan in March 2013, hoping for a political comeback.

Instead, he got embroiled in court cases, including the treason charges which are connected to his decision in 2007 to declare a state of emergency and detain senior judges, including the chief justice.

Meanwhile, a suspected U.S. missile strike targeted a militant compound early Thursday in a northwestern tribal district in Pakistan near the Afghan border, killing at least 10 people, Pakistani intelligence officials said.

It was the second such strike since Wednesday night, when three militants died in a drone attack in the same area in North Waziristan, marking the resumption of the CIA-led program in Pakistan after a nearly six-month hiatus.

Pakistan’s northwest, particularly the North Waziristan tribal area that borders Afghanistan, is home to numerous militant groups — both local and al-Qaida-linked foreign groups — who often work together, sharing fighters, money or expertise.

Early on Thursday, a pair of American drones dropped three missiles on a militant compound and a vehicle in the town of Ghulam Khan, said two Pakistani intelligence officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

The officials said they did not have information on the identities of the 13 killed in the two operations Wednesday and Thursday.

Due to stricter rules on the use of drones, diplomatic sensitivities and the changing nature of the al-Qaida threat, the number of American drone strikes had dwindled. The ones Wednesday and Thursday were the first since Christmas.

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