NEW YORK  -  Despite their saturation coverage of the Boston Marathon episode, American print and electronic media found space to carry reports about former President Pervez Musharraf's legal troubles in Pakistan.

Most newspapers and channels have been reporting about the activities of Musharraf, a close US ally in the war on terror, since his return to Pakistan, but so far there has been no editorial comment, with the Obama administration clearly distancing itself from him.

In reporting his arrest and detention, The New York Times said the move was "unprecedented in a country where the military has held sway for decades, and one that showed the determination of the judiciary to hold him accountable for his time in power" during which, among other actions, members of superior judiciary were detained.”

"The travails of Musharraf, 69, a former Army chief, furthered the humiliation of a figure who enjoyed absolute power in Pakistan for much of his rule, from 1999 to 2008," correspondent Declan Walsh wrote from Islamabad. "But it also raised new questions about why he returned to the country in the first place," he said in his dispatch to the Times.

"Little has gone well for Musharraf since he returned last month from four years of self-imposed exile, spent mostly in London and Dubai, the United Arab Emirates. Shortly after his arrival, a critic flung a shoe at him in public. Since then he has been mostly confined to his villa, protected by a sizable security contingent guarding against the possibility of an attack by the Taliban, who have threatened to kill him.

"The national Election Commission disqualified him from running for Parliament in elections scheduled for May 11. Until the drama of recent days, the news media had largely ignored him. Even his former comrades in the military appear to privately view him as more of a liability than an asset." the Times said.

"Musharraf’s case has shaken the country’s political system at a delicate time. The sight of a former military leader being hauled through the courts is a striking image in Pakistan, where Generals have ruled for about half of the country’s 66-year history."

It said, "No former military leader has ever been prosecuted in court for his actions while in power, although one, Gen. Yahya Khan, was placed under informal house detention for much of the 1970s after he lost the civil conflict that resulted in Pakistan’s eastern wing seceding to become Bangladesh.

"Now Musharraf is partly at the mercy of his nemesis, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, whom Musharraf fired in 2007, setting off street protests that eventually led to his ouster.

"Under Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, the Supreme Court has aggressively asserted its authority over the last year, having one Prime Minister fired and taking to task senior retired Generals for their actions in rigging previous elections.

"The country’s political leaders, including Nawaz Sharif, the Opposition leader who is the favourite to become the next Prime Minister, have remained conspicuously silent about Musharraf.

"Although Nawaz Sharif had previously demanded that Musharraf face treason charges, he is believed to have come under pressure from the government of Saudi Arabia, which quietly wields considerable influence in Pakistan, to leave Musharraf, a retired four-star General, alone. "Many analysts view the prospect of treason charges with trepidation, fearing that they could prompt a more aggressive military role".

Writing in The Christian Science Monitor, correspondent Saba Imtiaz said, "Pakistan’s former military rulers have long been held responsible for the instability and militancy plaguing the country and for disrupting democratically elected governments. None have ever been held accountable. In a remarkable first, former Army chief Pervez Musharraf was arrested on Friday and is being held in police custody for two days.

"Given his party's status as a non-entity in Pakistani politics and his own exit from the electoral race, Musharraf's arrest is unlikely to have any impact on the election but will make for conjecture and debate in the days ahead."

“Musharraf’s arrest has less substantive implications for rule of law but is of much greater significance for the implementation of institutional equilibrium that Pakistanis have sought for the entire history of our country,” political analyst Mosharraf Zaidi was quoted as saying in the Monitor dispatch.

"In Pakistan," wrote correspondent Imtiaz, "it is common for politicians to be hauled up and sent to jail, and the same treatment has never been given to military rulers. Ironically, Musharraf had amended the anti-terrorism laws in order to prosecute Nawaz Sharif, the then Prime Minister whose government he overthrew in 1999."

Retired Brigadier Javed Hussain, a former Special Services Group officer, has known Musharraf since he served as a Captain in the elite Pakistan Army group.  “He asked for it,” Hussain was quoted as saying about his former colleague’s arrest. Hussain cites a number of examples of what he calls Musharraf’s failures as COAS, including the 1999 Kargil war, and the Red Mosque operation in 2007.

“He has been guilty of lack of judgement. This isn’t to say that saner advice wasn’t given to him. He had reached a state where he believed he was repository of all knowledge and justice and everyone else was a moron, and that has let him down very badly,” Hussain says.

 “Everybody says he was promoted well beyond his capacity,” he told the Monitor. “Musharraf was defeated on the heights of Kargil and defeated by Iftikhar Chaudhry [the Supreme Court Chief Justice]. Within the military, people are against him,” he says.

“Barring a few, everyone who has been following his career while he was in charge of Pakistan holds him responsible for disgracing the Pakistan Army and for displaying utter immaturity in some of the decisions that were taken by him. Every step he took backfired. There you have it: a fallen soldier. That is Mr. Musharraf for you.”