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HindustanTimes Thu,27 Nov 2014

World

Pak court orders Musharraf be probed in Benazir's murder
PTI
Islamabad, April 23, 2013
First Published: 21:59 IST(23/4/2013)
Last Updated: 22:00 IST(23/4/2013)

A Pakistani anti-terrorism court on Tuesday ordered the Federal Investigation Agency to include former military ruler Pervez Musharraf, a "proclaimed offender", in the probe into the assassination of ex-prime minister Benazir Bhutto in 2007.

Musharraf appeared before judge Chaudhry Habib-ur-Rehman for the first time since the Rawalpindi-based court began hearing the case in 2008.

His lawyer asked the judge to withdraw orders declaring Musharraf a fugitive and freezing his bank accounts and assets.

The anti-terrorism court, which conducted the hearing behind closed doors for security reasons, had declared Musharraf a "proclaimed offender" or fugitive and frozen his assets in 2011 after he failed to cooperate with investigators.

The former army chief's lawyer said these orders should be withdrawn as he was now appearing in the anti-terrorism court.

Musharraf was driven to the Rawalpindi-based court from his plush villa on the outskirts of Islamabad which was declared a "sub-jail" last week after he was remanded to judicial custody for a fortnight for charges dating back to his 9-year rule.

Musharraf, 69, was accused of providing inadequate security to Bhutto after she returned to Pakistan from self-exile in late 2007.

Bhutto was assassinated in a gun-and-bomb attack shortly after she addressed an election rally at Liaquat Bagh in Rawalpindi on December 27, 2007.

The judge directed Musharraf to cooperate with investigators and adjourned the case till May 3.

He also directed the FIA to complete its investigation and submit a 'challan' or chargesheet in court.

Musharraf's counsel argued that Bhutto was murdered in 2007 while the former President was implicated in the case on "political basis" when he was abroad.

He further argued that Musharraf was innocent and had nothing to do with the murder.

Chief prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali of the FIA told reporters that Musharraf had not cooperated with investigators.

"While he was on bail for a month, he did not join the investigation. Today was the first time he appeared in the court," he said.


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