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Musharraf defiant after house arrest

  • Published at 08:30 am April 19th, 2013
Musharraf defiant after house arrest

Former Pakistani military ruler Pervez Musharraf today criticised allegations against him as “politically motivated”, following his arrest in a case involving his decision to fire senior judges while in power.

Police arrested former president Musharraf overnight at his home in the capital, Islamabad, where he holed up following a dramatic escape from court Thursday morning to avoid being detained, reported Associated Press. 

Musharraf fled the Islamabad High Court in a speeding vehicle after a judge rejected his bail and ordered his arrest

It was a new low in Musharraf’s troubled return from self-imposed exile last month to attempt a political comeback in the upcoming parliamentary election.

Police presented Musharraf before Islamabad District Court on Friday morning after arresting him, said police officer Mohammed Khalid. Local TV video showed Musharraf entering the court surrounded by a heavy security detachment of police and paramilitary soldiers.

The district court judge instructed police to keep Musharraf in their custody for two days and then present him before an anti-terrorism court, said one of his lawyers, Malik Qamar Afzal. His legal team is trying to decide what to do next, said Afzal.

Police returned Musharraf to his home on the outskirts of Islamabad, where he is being held under house arrest, said police officer Mohammed Rafique.

“These allegations are politically motivated, and I will fight them in the trial court, where the truth will eventually prevail,” Musharraf said in a message posted on his Facebook page Friday after he was arrested.

The decision by the police to arrest Musharraf ended an awkward situation in which the former military ruler was being protected by security forces for hours while holed up in his house, but none of them made a move to detain him. They were likely awaiting orders from senior officials trying to figure out how to deal with the delicate situation.

Pakistan’s government has been reluctant to wade into the controversy surrounding Musharraf since he returned last month, especially given his position as a former chief of the army, considered the most powerful institution in the country.

Musharraf is facing a raft of other legal challenges, including allegations before the Supreme Court that he committed sedition while in power. He also faces legal charges in two other cases. One involves allegations that Musharraf didn’t provide adequate security to former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who was killed in a gunfire and suicide attack in 2007. The other relates to the death of a nationalist leader in Baluchistan in 2006.