Musharraf appears in Pakistani court


Islamabad : Former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf Friday appeared in an Islamabad court to answer charges in connection with emergency rule, lawyers said.

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A case had been filed against Musharraf for placing hundreds of judges under house arrest when he imposed emergency rule and suspended the constitution in 2007, reported Xinhua.

A lower court had issued arrest warrant for Musharraf in the case and had declared him proclaimed offender as he had previously failed to appear before the court despite several orders.

His defence lawyer told the court that he could not appear as he had been out of the country.

Musharraf had then got a temporary bail and the Islamabad High Court extended the bail until April 18.

His defence lawyer had sought a two-week extension for security concerns. However, Chief Justice of Islamabad High Court Shaukat Aziz Siddiqi gave only a six-day extension and will hear the case next week.

Musharraf was brought to the court in a bullet-proof jeep under tight security. Dozens of paramilitary soldiers and a large number of police personnel were deployed outside and inside the court’s premises.

A group of lawyers chanted slogans as Musharraf came out of the court room. Dozens of Musharraf’s supporters also arrived at the court. Security forces were deployed to avoid any clash between supporters and rivals of Musharraf.

Musharraf is facing cases, including treason charges, for imposing emergency rule, the 2007 assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto and the killing of a Baloch leader, Nawab Akbar Bugti in 2006.

Musharraf, who ruled Pakistan from 1999 to 2008, denied all charges and said he will defend himself in courts. He had resigned in August 2008 to avoid impeachment by parliament and then went into exile.

He returned to Pakistan last month after over four years of self-imposed exile in Britain and the UAE to take part in the May 11 parliamentary elections for his All Pakistan Muslim League party.