QUETTA - An anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Quetta Monday ordered former military ruler Gen (r) Pervez Musharraf to appear before it in person on April 21 in a case relating to the murder of Baloch nationalist leader Nawab Akbar Bugti or face arrest.

Quetta ATC-1 Judge Tariq Ahmed Kasi directed the former military dictator to appear in person otherwise his bail would be cancelled.

“The court will issue arrest warrants against him if he fails to appear before it,” counsel for Nawabzada Jamil Akbar Bugti, Sohail Rajput, told reporters while quoting the remarks of the judge during the hearing.

Meanwhile, former federal interior minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao and former Balochistan Mir Shoaib Nowsherwani appeared before the court in the case.

The court ordered both the former ministers to reappear before it on April 21.

“We respect the court now and we will respect it in future,” Sherpao told reporters after the hearing of the case.

Musharraf, who was last week indicted by the Special Court for treason, has been on bail in three other major cases dating to his time in power, including one relating to the assassination of Nawab Akbar Bugti during a military operation.

Bugti led an armed campaign to press for the provincial autonomy and a greater share of profits from Balochistan’s natural resources. His killing sparked deadly nationwide protests and inflamed an armed insurgency that rose up in 2004.

An ATC official said the court had rejected an application by Musharraf’s lawyer Riaz Janjua for an exemption from a personal appearance.

A two-judge bench of the Supreme Court had granted bail to Musharraf in October last year, citing lack of substantial evidence, involving him in the criminal conspiracy regarding Bugti’s murder.

Musharraf, who led Pakistan from 1999 to 2008, returned from self-imposed exile in March last year to contest the general elections, but was barred from taking part and faced a barrage of legal cases, including treason. The treason charges relate to Musharraf’s 2007 imposition of emergency rule which came as the Supreme Court was due to rule on the validity of his re-election as president. The court also issued arrest warrants for Pervez Musharraf’s guarantors, Rajput revealed. “Investigation team is not fulfilling its responsibility with regard to probing the murder of Nawab Bugti,” he complained.

Nawabzada Jamil Akbar Bugti, the son of Nawab Akbar Bugti, had nominated Musharraf, former prime minister Shaukat Aziz and other high-ups in the murder of his father.

The Balochistan High Court had already issued arrest warrants for the accused persons.