Court remands Musharraf for 14 days
12 October, 2013
ISLAMABAD: A court on Friday ordered former military ruler Pervez Musharraf to be held for 14 days over a 2007 raid on the Red Mosque in Islamabad, a decision that means he must remain confined to his villa.
Police arrested Musharraf late on Thursday over the military raid on the Red Mosque which left dozens dead a day after a court granted him bail in a separate case. The 70-year-old has been confined to his villa on the edge of Islamabad, which has been declared a "sub-jail" since April over a string of cases dating back to his 1999-2008 rule. The Supreme Court on Wednesday granted him bail over the death of rebel leader Akbar Bugti, a move that could have seen him freed once release procedures were completed.
He had already been granted bail in two other major cases against him, including one relating to the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto. "The court remanded Musharraf for 14 days. The next date of hearing has been fixed for October 25," a court official told AFP. Musharraf's lawyer Afshan Adil confirmed the details of the order. The former commando returned to Pakistan in March to run in the May general election, vowing to "save" the country from economic collapse and militancy. But he was barred from standing in the election.
Though Musharraf's lawyers said Wednesday's bail order meant he was a "free man", in practice his life is in such danger that he cannot leave his villa, where he is guarded by 300 heavily-armed police and soldiers. The Taliban have threatened to kill the 70-year-old former general, who as president allied Pakistan with Washington in the US "war on terror" in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.
The Islamabad High Court on Friday dismissed the plea seeking placement of Musharraf's name on the Exit Control List (ECL). The petition was filed by Haroon Rasheed though his lawyer Tariq Asad. The counsel apprised the bench that during the July 3-10, 2007, operation on the Red Mosque, about 1,500 innocent children, including those orphaned because of earthquake, students, teachers and other people who came to the mosque for prayers had been allegedly killed on the orders of Musharraf.
He cited a report of the commission appointed by the Supreme Court under a judge of the Federal Shariat Court, Justice Shahzado Sheikh, to probe the incident. He said the commission had examined more than 400 witnesses and held the former military dictator responsible for the operation. Asad contended that Musharraf might leave the country before Eidul Azha.
"If he leaves Pakistan it will not be possible to bring him back, and consequently, not only the report of the commission will become ineffective, but he will also be able to escape trial." To this, Justice Riaz Ahmed Khan remarked that Musharraf was already in jail, so how could he escape. He dismissed the plea as non-maintainable.