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Pakistan’s former military ruler indicted in Benazir’s killing

Pakistan’s former military ruler and president Parvez Musharraf: File Pic
Pakistan’s former military ruler and president Parvez Musharraf: File Pic

In a major setback to Pakistan’s former military ruler and president General (Retd) Parvez Musharraf, who is presently under detention, a court in Pakistan has indicted him in assassination of country’s former premier Benazir Bhutto, who was killed in 2007.

Islamabad, Aug 20/Nationalturk – Pakistan’s former military ruler and president General (Retd) Parvez Musharraf, who is presently under detention, has been indicted by a court in Pakistan in assassination of country’s former premier Benazir Bhutto, who was killed in 2007.

Musharraf, who has been detained at his Chak Shahzad  farm house in capital Islamabad, was brought to Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) Rawalpindi in tight security.

Hundreds of police and paramilitary personnel armed with automatic weapons were deployed outside the court to prevent any assassination bid on Musharraf. The sharpshooters were deployed in adjoining buildings to keep a watch on movement of people. The intelligence agencies have time and again warned that dreaded militant group Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is planning to assassinate him.

The Anti-terrorism Court judge Chaudhry Habibur Rahman formally indicted him and six others in the killing of Benazir Bhutto.

Musharraf charged with murder, facilitation to murder

“Musharraf was charged with murder, conspiracy to murder and facilitation to murder. However, he denied all the charges leveled against him,” public prosecutor Chaudhary Azad told reporters outside the court.

Sources said after Parvez Musharraf’s denial, the court sought evidences from the public prosecutor. The next hearing of the case has been fixed on August 27.

The mediamen were not allowed in the court room for the hearing which lasted for nearly half an hour.

Musharraf’s lawyer Afshan Adil told reporters that all cases against Musharraf were fabricated. “He has denied all the charges”.

Former military ruler exempted from personally appearing in court

Musharraf’s defence counsel said the court has exempted him from personally appearing in the court in next hearing. “The judge agreed with the view-point of the defence that Musharraf was facing life threats and as such should not be produced in the court in next date of hearing”.

The decision by a court in Rawalpindi to indict Musharraf marks the first time when any former army chief in Pakistan has been charged with a crime in a country, which as bee ruled by the military for half of its 66-year history.

Benazir Bhutto was killed in a gun and suicide bomb attack after an election rally in 2007, weeks after she returned to Pakistan from years in self-imposed exile.

The government had then blamed then TTP chief Beitullah Meshud for her assassination. Meshud was later killed in a US drone strike in tribal areas of Pakistan.

Musharraf has repeatedly said he had warned her of the danger when she arrived the country.

Musharraf returned to Pakistan in March after nearly four years outside the country and vowed to take part in the country’s May elections. However, he was arrested and barred from taking part in elections.

He has been confined to his house on the outskirts Islamabad as part of his legal problems. Besides Bhutto case, Musharraf is involved in a case related to the 2007 detention of judges and death of a Baloch leader Akbar Bugti, who had challenged government writ and died in military operation in a cave.

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Faiz Ahmad / NationalTurk Pakistan News

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