A Pakistani court on Wednesday ordered the police to open a case and investigate former president Pervez Musharraf over allegations that he ordered the murder of an ethnic Baloch leader in 2006.
The High Court in Balochistan made the ruling after a petition was filed by the son of the Baloch leader Akbar Bugti, said the son's attorney, Habib Jalib.
It also ordered police to investigate former Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and Balochistan's former chief minister Jam Yousuf in the same case.
Few believe that Musharraf would ever face a court because he enjoys the support of the country's powerful military leadership and Western countries, who favour him for being a strong ally in the fight against terrorism after the 2001 terrorist attacks on the US.
"We are going to file an application against him, but we have still to see whether the government is in a position to arrest him," said Jalib, a lawyer for Jamil Akbar Bugti.
Akbar Bugti, a former chief minister of Balochistan and interior minister in the federal government, led an armed nationalist movement of ethnic Baloch tribes that started in 2004 to seek autonomy as well as a greater share of revenues generated from Balochistan's natural resources.
The then-president and -army chief, Musharraf, deployed thousands of troops as well as helicopter gunships and fighter jets to target rebel hideouts.
Hundreds of Baloch fighters, dozens of security personnel and many civilians have died in the conflict, which continues on Wednesday.
On Aug 26, 2006, Akbar Bugti died when a shell exploded in a cave where he was hiding during fighting with troops. Five Pakistani soldiers were also killed in the battle.
Akbar Bugti's relatives and supporters said Musharraf should be held directly responsible for what they called an extra judicial killing.
A few weeks before Akbar Bugti's death, Musharraf said in a speech that he would be hit by something whose origins he could not guess at, Akbar's son-in-law Shahid Bugti said in an interview in Aug 2008.
The interview was conducted a few days after Musharraf resigned as president under the threat of impeachment by a coalition government formed by his political opponents, led by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari, the widower of slain former premier Benazir Bhutto.
Currently, Musharraf lives in self-imposed exile in London and travels around the world to deliver lectures on Taliban militancy and Pakistan's role on the global stage. Some of the world's renowned universities and think tanks have arranged these lectures.