Mush to be charged with Be­nazir’s mur­der

The Political and Business Daily - - FRONT PAGE -

ISHLAMABAD, JULY 30 FOR­MER Pak­istani mil­i­tary ruler Pervez Mushar­raf will be charged with crim­i­nal con­spir­acy and mur­der of ex-Prime Min­is­ter Be­nazir Bhutto on Au­gust 6, even as his bail plea in the Ak­bar Bugti killing case was re­jected to­day. Mushar­raf was pro­duced in an anti-ter­ror­ism court in Rawalpindi amidst tight se­cu­rity for to­day's hear­ing in the Bhutto as­sas­si­na­tion case headed by judge Habibur Rah­man.

Rehman fixed Au­gust 6 to be the date to for­mally charge 69-year-old Mushar­raf.

The for­mer Pres­i­dent's in­dict­ment would be an un­prece­dented move in a coun­try ruled by mil­i­tary for more than half of its life. The Rawalpindi court is hear­ing the case of the killing of two-time prime min­is­ter Bhutto.

Bhutto was as­sas­si­nated in a gun-and-bomb at­tack out­side Rawalpindi's Li­aquat Bagh on De­cem­ber 27, 2007, while Mushar­raf was pres­i­dent. She was killed af­ter ad­dress­ing an elec­tion cam­paign rally in the city.

State prose­cu­tor Chaudhry Azhar Ali told me­dia that "Mushar­raf will be pro­duced at the next hear­ing on Au­gust 6".

The charges re­lat­ing to crim­i­nal con­spir­acy and mur­der will be read out be­fore Mushar­raf and he will have to sign the charge sheet, he said.

Rehman or­dered the po­lice that the ac­cused should be present in the court to sign the charge sheet and re­spond to the charges.

Mushar­raf was not pro­duced in court in the last two hear­ings due to se­cu­rity rea­sons, prompt­ing the judge to rep­ri­mand the po­lice and or­der them to present the ac­cused or make ar­range­ment for hear­ing of the case in the jail.

Also to­day, the judge re­stored the frozen bank ac­counts and as­sets of Mushar­raf.

The re­quest for restora­tion was made by Mushar­raf's lawyer Ilyas Sid­diqui.

Fol­low­ing the ad­journ­ment, Mushar­raf re­turned to his ChakShahzad res­i­dence in the sub­urbs of Is­lam­abad, which had been de­clared sub-jail.

The ATC had named Mushar­raf in the case in Fe­bru­ary 2011, and in Au­gust the same year he was de­clared a pro­claimed of­fender and his prop­erty was at­tached be­cause of his ab­sence.

In a re­lated de­vel­op­ment, the Balochis­tan High Court re­jected Mushar­raf's bail ap­pli­ca­tion in the Akber Bugti mur­der case.—

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