RAWALPINDI/ISLAMABAD - Only a day after Nawaz government told the parliament and the apex court that it was willing to frame high treason charges against the former military dictator for subverting and suspending the constitution, another bombshell dropped on General (r) Pervaiz Musharraf on Tuesday.

The FIA told a Rawalpindi Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) that it has found the then President Musharraf responsible for hatching criminal conspiracy to eliminate late PPP Chairperson Benazir Bhutto (BB).

Submitting the report of investigation carried out under Section 173 of CrPc by the Federal Investigation Agency, Joint Investigation Team (JIT) Head Deputy Director (DD) Khalid Rasool stated that Musharraf caused breach in Benazir’s security that led to her murder. Musharraf, according to the FIA, wanted to kill BB to secure his rule. ATC No 1 Special Judge Chaudhry Habibur Rehman summoned Musharraf in the court on July 2, the next date of hearing.

Sources disclosed that the FIA in its final challan held the retired General responsible for BB assassination in the light of American Journalist Mark Seagal’s statement. Benazir had sent an email to Mark expressing her fear that four persons in Pakistan government — Gen Musharraf, the then Punjab CM Ch Pervaiz Elahi, former IB DG Ijaz Shah and former ISI DG Gen (r) Hameed Gull — would be responsible if she was killed.

Meanwhile, the trial court also accepted the plea of Barrister Salman Safdar of granting exemption to General Musharraf from personal appearance before the court owing to security threat. However, the court reserved its verdict on the plea of accused for grating permanent exemption from appearance in the case till next date of hearing.

Former City Police Officer (CPO) Syed Saud Aziz and former Rawal Town SP Khurram Shehzad were also present during the hearing. The serving Islamabad CPO submitted his reply before the court regarding security issue of FIA Special Public Prosecutor Chaudhry Azhar Ali, who is contesting BB murder case after brutal murder of former special public prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali. In the reply, the CPO informed the court that police cannot provide round the clock security cover to Azhar from Islamabad airport to the courtroom.

On the other hand, the Supreme Court was moved on Tuesday against the order of Islamabad High Court (IHC) to grant bail to Musharraf in judges detention case. A division bench of IHC had granted post-arrest bail to the former president on June 11 against surety bonds of Rs500,000. The bench in its short order said, “There is nothing on record to connect the accused/petitioner (Musharraf) with the alleged offence (detention of judges). There are only statements of some lawyers but all those statements are based on allegations and cannot be considered as evidence.”

Aslam Ghumman, applicant in the case, challenged the IHC order under Article 185 (3) of the constitution. He said that according to the contents of the FIR and the statement of the lawyer community as well as material on record, Section 6/7 of Anti-Terrorism Act is attracted in the case. He said that IHC order was illegal, unjust and arbitrary which had resulted in grave miscarriage of justice and high court had not followed the dictums of the Supreme Court in its true prospective.

The judges of the high court cannot ignore Section 7 ATA while deciding the petition for bail after arrest, he added. He contended that all the necessary ingredients for the refusal of the bail were present on record, which had been totally and arbitrary ignored by the high court. “The impugned order is fanciful, arbitrary and disrespect to the entire judicial system,” he further said.

On August 11, 2009, Ghumman had lodged an FIR against Musharraf for illegally and unlawfully detaining 60 judges of superior courts after promulgating emergency and provisional constitutional order in the country on November 3, 2007.

The judges along with their families were kept under unlawful confinement and Musharraf regime rulers restrained them from performing their judicial duties. He stated that immoral and illegal acts of Gen (r) Musharraf had destroyed the judicial system of Pakistan and caused mental torture to the lawyers and public at large. The dictator’s act defamed the country among the international community, he added.