ISLAMABAD - Pakistan People’s Party yesterday has accused the government of helping former military ruler Pervez Musharraf flee the country.

The party held a protest demonstration here slamming the government for its decision to remove the travel ban on Pervez Musharraf.

The protest came as a close aide of the former military ruler claimed the government had offered a ‘deal’ to Pervez Musharraf to stay out of the country which he declined to accept.

Ahmed Raza Kasuri, a senior lawyer and leader of Musharraf’s All Pakistan Muslim League, yesterday said the former military ruler’s departure to Dubai for ‘medical treatment’ was not a result of any deal. “The government did try to strike a deal with Pervez Musharraf before his departure but he refused the offer. Before leaving for Dubai, Musharraf called and told the government wanted to strike a deal but I (Pervez Musharraf) declined,” Kausri said.

After the 1999 coup to topple Nawaz Sharif’s previous government, Musharraf had sent Sharif and his family into exile under a deal brokered by Saudi Arabia’s rulers. The deal restricted Sharif from participating in politics for 10 years.

The former military ruler is facing a slew of court cases on different charges, including high treason for subverting the constitution in 2007.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan insisted the government removed Musharraf’s name from the Exit Control List in compliance with the Supreme Court orders.

Musharraf’s name was put on the ECL after he returned to Pakistan in 2013, hoping to lead his party in the general elections. He was, however, disqualified from contesting the polls and found himself fighting an array of charges relating to his time in power from 1999 to 2008.

The special court indicted Musharraf in 2014 for promulgating emergency and suspending the constitution before sacking top judges, including then chief justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry.

Addressing the PPP protest demonstration in front of the National Press Club, Senator Farhatullah Babar said Musharraf was inexplicably given the safe passage by the government which was hard to understand.

“The nation wants to know under what pressure this decision was taken. Was it a deal or was there some other pressure to let him go,” he asked.

He said the PPP condemned the way Musharraf was allowed to leave the country when a number of cases were pending against him.

Speaking on the occasion, PPP leader Nargis Faiz Malik said Musharraf was allowed to run away in the guise of a patient.

The PPP leader recalled Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had promised to the nation that Musharraf will be held accountable for Benazir Bhutto’s murder. “Now Nawaz Sharif has allowed the killer of his sister (Benazir Bhutto) to run away and enjoy life in luxury,” she contended.

The PPP activists chanted slogans against the government for lifting the travel ban on Musharraf under an alleged deal.