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Pakistan court remands Musharraf over Bhutto killing

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Musharraf is already under a two-week house arrest period over the sacking of judges when he imposed emergency rule in 2007

Pakistani soldiers escort a vehicle carrying former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, in Islamabad on April 26, 2013 (AFP, Aamir Qureshi)

Pakistani soldiers escort a vehicle carrying former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, in Islamabad on April 26, 2013 (AFP, Aamir Qureshi)

AFP – A Pakistani court on Friday slapped a three-day house arrest order on former military ruler Pervez Musharraf over the murder of Benazir Bhutto more than five years ago, a prosecutor said.

Musharraf is already under a two-week house arrest period, set to expire on May 4, over the sacking of judges when he imposed emergency rule in November 2007 and the fresh order will run concurrently.

The retired general appeared in court in Rawalpindi for his remand hearing under tight security. He is accused of conspiracy to murder former prime minister Bhutto, who died in a gun and suicide attack in December 2007.

It is the second of three cases, dating back to his 1999-2008 rule, for which Musharraf has been arrested since returning to Pakistan on March 24 after four years of self-imposed exile, promising to contest elections.

“We requested a three-day remand of retired general Pervez Musharraf and judge Chaudhry Habib-ur Rehman gave a three-day remand and adjourned the case until Tuesday,” prosecutor Chaudhry Azhar told AFP.

“However, we can present him to the court even before Monday, if we complete the investigation,” he added.

Musharraf is being held at his plush villa on the edge of Islamabad where his party complained that he has been confined to two rooms and stripped of his personal staff.

He is also barred from running in next month’s general election on May 11 and has been threatened with death by the Taliban.

Nobody has been convicted or jailed for Bhutto’s assassination. Musharraf’s government blamed the killing on Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud, who denied any involvement and who was killed in a US drone attack in August 2009.

In 2010 a UN report said Bhutto’s death could have been prevented and accused Musharraf’s government of failing to give her adequate protection.

But Bhutto’s son, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, who is chairman of the outgoing Pakistan People’s Party, has accused Musharraf of her murder.


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