ATC grants Musharraf’s custody to FIA in Benazir case

Friday, April 26th, 2013 10:52:31 by

An anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi on Friday granted physical custody of former President Pervez Musharraf in the assassination case of former Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto, lawyers said.


Musharraf, who ruled Pakistan 1999-2008, has been accused of failing to provide adequate security to Bhutto when she returned to Pakistan from exile in October 2007.


Bhutto, who had twice served as Prime Minister, was killed in a suicide attack and gunshots in the garrison city of Rawalpindi in December 2007, shortly after she spoke to thousands of her supporters.


Musharraf’s government had accused the Pakistani Taliban of killing Bhutto, the charge denied by the Taliban.


The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), which is investigating the Bhutto’s murder, had sought Musharraf’s custody to question him about his failure to ensure security for the former Prime Minister despite serious threats to her life.


Musharraf’s lawyer, Ms. Afshan Adil, opposed the FIA request and argued that there are no evidences against the former President.


Judge Chaudhry Habib-ur-Rehman of the anti-terrorism court accepted the FIA request and granted Musharraf’s five-day physical remand.


The court ordered that Musharraf should be produced again on April 30.


Several security agencies have constituted a Joint Investigation Team to question Musharraf in connection with the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.


Musharraf will be questioned at his heavily-guarded Islamabad’s farmhouse, which has already been declared as sub-jail over security concerns.


The former President was not shifted to prison on a request from the authorities over threats to his life by the Taliban militants, who in a video message last month announced to launch attack on Musharraf.


Musharraf, who returned Pakistan last month after over four-year self-exile, has denied all charges against him and said he will defend himself in courts.


Musharraf has already been arrested in the case of keeping the judges in illegal confinement when he had imposed emergency rule in 2007.


The former President is also facing high treason charges for abrogation of the constitution.


Five individuals have filed petitions for high treason proceedings in the Supreme Court, however, the interim government has refused to pursue the case because of its limited role. The interim government has prayed to the apex court to leave the case to the next elected government.

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