In the dock

Southasia - - BRIEFINGS -

For­mer Pak­istan Pres­i­dent Pervez Mushar­raf was re­leased from more than six months of house ar­rest, af­ter a court granted him bail in a case in­volv­ing the killing of a cleric in 2007. How­ever, the PML-N gov­ern­ment moved the court to try him un­der Ar­ti­cle 6 for sub­vert­ing the Con­sti­tu­tion of Pak­istan and declar­ing Emer­gency on Nov 3, 2007. While the gov­ern­ment claimed that there was ‘noth­ing per­sonal’ about the case, the for­mer pres­i­dent’s le­gal and po­lit­i­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tives said that it was an at­tempt to keep him in the dock. The op­po­si­tion also ques­tioned the tim­ing of the case, terming it as ‘a bid to di­vert pub­lic at­ten­tion from the sec­tar­ian clashes in Rawalpindi and Mul­tan’.

Mushar­raf had been granted bail in all the cases against him, al­though the charges still stand. He was re­leased when his lawyers sub­mit­ted the bond in the case in­volv­ing the killing of Maulana Ab­dur Rasheed Ghazi. The cleric and some 100 other peo­ple died dur­ing a crack­down on the Lal Masjid by se­cu­rity forces in 2007, when Mushar­raf was in power. In the other cases, Mushar­raf was ac­cused of play­ing a role in the 2007 as­sas­si­na­tion of for­mer Pak­istani leader Be­nazir Bhutto, the killing of Baloch leader Ak­bar Bugti, and hav­ing or­dered the il­le­gal de­ten­tion of Supreme Court judges.

Af­ter step­ping down as pres­i­dent in 2008, Mushar­raf left the coun­try and spent nearly four years in ex­ile. He re­turned to Pak­istan ear­lier this year with a plan to run for po­lit­i­cal of­fice, but was dis­qual­i­fied from run­ning in the elec­tions and barred from leav­ing the coun­try.

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