Rawalpindi/ISLAMABAD - Former military ruler Pervez Musharraf was formally arrested in the Benazir Bhutto assassination case by the Federal Investigation Agency on Thursday shortly after permission from a trial court, media reports said.
The former president will remain detained at his Chak Shehzad farmhouse residence but will be produced before an anti-terrorism court (in Rawalpindi) on Friday.
Musharraf touched down in Pakistan to contest the 2013 general elections the last month. He has been embroiled in a number of cases – ranging from the judges’ detention to Benazir Bhutto assassination to treason against the state – since.
Musharraf was indicted in the high-profile assassination case in February 2011. He was declared a proclaimed offender and his property was seized later in August.
During Thursday’s proceedings, Anti-Terrorism Court judge Chaudhry Habibur Rehman accepted the plea filed by FIA prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali, Additional Director Khalid Rasool and Inspector Tariq for Musharraf’s arrest, allowing the agency to include him in the probe.
The court instructed the agency to complete investigations and submit a complete challan on May 3, the next date of hearing.
On the other hand, during Supreme Court’s hearing of Musharraf treason case, Attorney General for Pakistan Irfan Qadir, seemed to argue against the November 3, 2007 actions of Pervez Musharraf, contrary to the stance taken by the then attorney general Latif Khosa.
During the proceedings, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain, a member on the three-judge bench, said the former attorney general had declared the deeds of Musharraf illegal, stating that he would not defend them.
Sardar Khosa, before a 14-member bench during the SHCBA case hearing, had said, “The acts and instruments of November 3, 2007 of general (retired) Musharraf, which were obviously extra-constitutional, were not accepted, rather were objected to by all the democratic political parties except the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid which had tabled a resolution in the National Assembly to endorse the said actions and got it passed.”
Justice Jawwad S Khawaja asked Irfan Qadir to inform the court about the federation’s viewpoint over the issue. Qadir parried the court query, stating, “November 3rd measures were unnecessary.” “What do you mean by ‘unnecessary’, enquired Justice Khawaja, remaking “now we (the justices) have understood what you want to say”!
Ibrahim Satti, counsel for Musharraf, continuing his arguments said the court, in its July 31 verdict, made observations and never ordered action against his client. Musharraf was not a party in an application filed in the Sindh High Court, he added.
Justice Khilji Hussain observed that the July 31 verdict was passed on two petitions, while Pervez Musharraf was made respondent in a petition moved by advocate Akram Sheikh. Ibrahim Satti will resume his arguments on May 29 (Monday).