A Pakistani anti-terrorism court on Monday acquitted former military ruler Pervez Musharraf of involvement in the alleged murder of Baloch nationalist leader Akbar Khan Bugti.
The court in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province, also acquitted former provincial home minister Mir Shoaib Nosherwani and former federal interior minister Aftab Sherpao, according to reports in the Pakistani media.
Bugti was killed during a military operation ordered by Musharraf in 2006. The slain leader had led an armed campaign to press for more autonomy and a greater share of profits from Balochistan’s abundant natural resources.
The leader’s son, Jamil Bugti, had accused Musharraf and several of his aides of involvement in the killing of Akbar Bugti in an FIR filed in Dera Bugti in 2009.
After the court announced its decision, Jamil Bugti’s lawyer Sohail Rajput said the verdict would be challenge in a higher court. “We are not satisfied with this judgement and we will challenge it,” Rajput told reporters.
Aftab Sherpao, who now heads the Qaumi Watan Party chief and is a member of the National Assembly or lower house of parliament, expressed satisfaction at the judgment.
The court also rejected a request by Jamil Bugti to order the exhumation of his father’s body to confirm that Akbar Bugti had been buried at Dera Bugti.
The verdict will provide some relief to Musharraf, who is facing a raft of civil and criminal cases in several courts in Pakistan. He has been granted bail in four other key cases, including one for the 2007 assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.