World | Pakistan

Pakistan: Musharraf charged in Bhutto killing

Six others, including two former senior police officers, also indicted

  • By Mohsin Ali, Correspondent
  • Published: 16:49 August 20, 2013
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: AFP
  • A Pakistani police commando stands alert as a vehicle carrying Pakistan's ex-military ruler Pervez Musharraf arrives at the anti-terrorist court in Rawalpindi on August 20, 2013. Musharraf was indicted on August 20 on three counts over the murder of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto who died in a gun and suicide attack in December 2007.

Islamabad: A Pakistani anti-terrorism court on Tuesday formally charged former military ruler Pervez Musharraf with involvement in a conspiracy to assassinate former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in 2007.

Musharraf denied the charges after the judge read out the indictment during a 20-minute hearing in the court in Rawalpindi on Tuesday. Media representatives were not allowed to enter the court located in the garrison city.

Six others, including two former senior police officers, were also indicted. The court fixed the next hearing for August 27.

The former army chief and president was brought to the court under tight security from his Islamabad farmhouse were he has been living under detention since the premises was declared a sub-jail by the authorities in April.

Prosecutors said he was charged with murder, criminal conspiracy to murder and facilitation of murder. The former president was taken back to the farmhouse after the indictment.

Benazir Bhutto was killed in a gun-and-bomb attack on December 27, 2007, while she was campaigning.

The general election held in February 2008 brought her Pakistan People’s Party to power. In the May elections this year, it was voted out and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) party came to power.

Musharraf, who returned to Pakistan from self-imposed exile earlier in March this year, to lead his political faction into the general election. But his candidature was rejected and a high court banned him for life from contesting election.

He is fighting a series of charges relating to his time in power from 1999 when he ousted then prime minister Nawaz Sharif from power until he stepped down in the middle of 2008 under threat of impeachment and left Pakistan.

The PML-N government intends to put Musharraf on trial for treason over suspension of the constitution and imposition of emergency by him in November 2007 when many judges of superior courts were also placed under detention.

Another anti-terrorism court based in Quetta, capital of Balochistan, on Monday ordered the authorities to present Musharraf before it on September 10 in connection with charges he was responsible for the killing of Baloch nationalist leader Akbar Bugti in an army operation in 2006.

The Quetta court also issued arrest warrants for former prime minister Shaukat Aziz who held the chief executive’s office during Mushrraf regime and is now living abroad.

Tuesday’s indictment of a former army chief was unprecedented in Pakistan where the military has directly ruled for more than half of the country 66-year history. Musharraf wore dual hats as army chief and president concurrently for most of his over eight year hold on power.

During the rule of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) the Supreme Court in a verdict related to a case about doling out of money by ISI to politicians prior to 1990 elections had recommended that former army chief Mirza Aslam Beg be investigated in the matter for legal action under the law.

But there had been no follow-up action on the top court’s recommendation over manipulation of 1990 elections in which a combine of right wing parties defeated PPP and Nawa Shairf was elected prime minister.

Comments (7)

  1. Added 14:21 August 21, 2013

    Bugti's who left no efforts to destroy Pakistan, by the case is for Benazir Trial not Bugti, Probably another 100 Years and then Democrasy will start giving us good results.

    Mansoor Ahmed, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 13:00 August 21, 2013

    In the tenure of Mr. Musharaff the Country was growing the dollar was Stable, Economy was growing, Terrorism was controlled all over the country and The borders with India and Afghanistan were also controlled, Electricity, Gas, Fuel, CNG was not a big issue. Now every thing is upside down what more do the people want.The statics speaks for Mr. Musharaff. The Bomb blasts, Rising inflation, energy crisis, Law and order is out of control. Pakistan is not for Democracy. I wish another Dictator like Mr. Musharaff or Mr. Musharaff comes back and save our land.

    Yasir, Dubai, Pakistan

  3. Added 12:36 August 21, 2013

    @Arif Are you aware that Bugti had caused havoc to the Siu Northern Gas Supply lines in the South. He was an overlord of the area, under him the people were living in pathetic conditions. He had his own private army and was threatening the Government writ in the area. There is undeniable proof (pictures, video clippings and eye witness accoun) that show that the people in Lal Masjid has a large arsenal of weapons and had been firing out of the compound The drone attacks are focused on North Waziristan, an area which itself does not acknowledge the sovriengnity of the Pakistani Goverment. Where people have taken up arms against the state itself. From this are they are conducting terrorist activity focused all over the country. In all three cases when people take up arms against the state they have to stopped. So in my opinion Musharaff deserves medals for all these actions. As far as the Benazir case goes there is also proof in the form of letters issued the PPP officials warning them of an imminent attack on Benazir and that she should avoid the public address. She and the party chose to ignore that warning. And at the end of the day one should ask the question, Who benefited the most from her death ?

    Dan, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 12:29 August 21, 2013

    @ Arif, Do you Know drone are not made or controlled in Pakistan, he warned Ms Bhutto over with political threats as she was attacked twice before killed, why did her husband resolve this case during his past five years ?? Don't blame other when you can't protect yourself, Musharraf was on self exile same as Ms. Benazir did yet he is back to face the trial, Salute to him...

    tahir, dubai, United Arab Emirates

  5. Added 11:00 August 21, 2013

    musharaf is better then PPP GOVT.

    NAVID, SHARJAH, Pakistan

  6. Added 10:50 August 21, 2013

    @ Mazhar, Do you Know Musharraf is the responsible for drone attacks in Pakistan, he killed Sardar Akbar Bugti in Balochistan, He ordered the Pakistan Army to attack and kill everybody in lal Masjid and he accepted in Courtroom that he knew that Benazir Bhutto will be attacked so that's why he didn't provide full proof security to her. He ordered all the law inforcement agencies not to provide security to her in written and everything is in record. And there is justice in Pakistan I salute to Chief Justice Iftakhar Chahudary and to his justice.

    Arif, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  7. Added 10:00 August 21, 2013

    I totally disagree with Pakistani court on charges against Mr. Musharraf. Its more to do with personal vengence than a political resolution. I havent seen a leader like Musharraf who faces all these things that also in a country like Pakistan where getting justice is the biggest issue, yet hes brave enough to face the biggest cheaters in history "The Sharif Brothers" who are more interested to have personal interests while being on the seat. Again i add it has to do with personal vengence from the lawyers as well who think of themselves as lords of the law in Pakistan.

    Mazhar, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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