Indictment of Musharraf adjourned over security fear
07 August, 2013
RAWALPINDI: Former president General (r) Pervez Musharraf on Tuesday failed to appear in court to be indicted over the murder of former premier Benazir Bhutto due to what police said were security concerns.
Musharraf had been summoned to face charges of criminal conspiracy and the murder of Bhutto in December 2007.
But police and his lawyer told the court in Rawalpindi that it was not safe enough to bring Musharraf to the court due to threats against his life.
Judge Chaudhry Habibur Rehman adjourned the indictment until August 20 and ordered Musharraf to appear then. Musharraf, who has been under house arrest at his plush villa on the edge of the capital Islamabad since April 19, had appeared before the court in person on July 30.
Musharraf's lawyer, Syeda Afshan Adil, told the court that security threats meant her client could not appear in person.
A police official also confirmed that officers were unable to escort Musharraf to the court house due to security risks.
An AFP reporter said there was tight security at the court with police commandoes checking vehicles and patting down pedestrians.
Bhutto, twice elected prime minister of Pakistan, was assassinated in a gun and bomb attack in December 2007 after campaigning in the garrison city of Rawalpindi.
Amnesty International released a statement, intended to coincide with Tuesday's indictment, demanding that Pakistan hold Musharraf accountable for all rights violations committed during his rule.
"It is encouraging to see the courts take the unprecedented step of bringing a former army chief to account," said Polly Truscott, Amnesty International's deputy Asia Pacific director.
"But Musharraf must be held accountable for all violations committed under his rule, not just a select few," she added.
The London-based rights group says it has documented a wide range of rights violations committed under Musharraf.
"Hundreds, if not thousands, were 'disappeared' during Musharraf's administration in particular human rights activists documenting violations committed by state security forces and members of armed opposition groups," said Truscott.