The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION
Posted: 11/4/2013 4:23 AM | Comments: 0
Last Modified: 11/7/2013 12:11 AM
ISLAMABAD - A court granted former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf bail Monday in a case related to the death of a radical cleric, paving the way for an end to his more than six-month house arrest, his defence lawyer said.
Musharraf, who has been plagued by legal troubles since he returned to Pakistan in March after years of self-imposed exile, already has been granted bail in three other cases against him. However, he is still prevented from leaving the country, his lawyer Ilyas Saddiqi said.
Saddiqi said Musharraf was granted bail because there was no evidence to prove his involvement in the death of the radical cleric, who was killed during a raid on a hard-line mosque in Islamabad in 2007. Prosecutors could not be immediately reached for comment.
Musharraf ordered the raid against the Red Mosque after students there began harassing massage parlours, stores in the capital that sold music and other targets that they felt promoted vulgarity. The people holed up in the mosque fought for days. The raid ended with nearly 100 people dead, including at least 10 army commandos. The army said it seized a large cache of arms from the mosque when the siege was over.
The incident severely damaged Musharraf's reputation in the country and earned him the undying hatred of militants who launched a series of punishing attacks following the raid. The case stems from a complaint filed by the son of the mosque's cleric who died in the siege. The son had been pushing for Musharraf to be investigated but police refused until a judge in Islamabad ordered them to open a case in early September.
Saddiqi said the bail granted Monday means Musharraf should be free to leave his house on the outskirts of Islamabad, where he has been held under arrest since April.
The other cases he faces have to do with his alleged role in the murder of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, the death of a Baluch separatist leader killed by the army and the detention of Pakistani judges.
Musharraf, a 70-year-old former commando, seized power in a 1999 coup when he was serving as army chief and ruled the country for nearly a decade. He was forced to step down in 2008 in response to increasing pressure from a public unhappy with his rule. Musharraf left the country shortly thereafter.
Musharraf returned from exile in March intending to run in upcoming national elections. But he was immediately ordered detained over the pending cases. He also was barred by a court from running for office for the rest of his life. His political party fared poorly in the May election.
The images of Musharraf facing justice like any other Pakistani citizen have been stunning in a country where the military has taken power in three coups and wielded enormous power even under civilian governments. Pakistan's army chief advised Musharraf not to return, but he ignored the advice.
For security reasons, he has been held at his lavish estate in the suburbs of Islamabad instead of a jail. Pakistani security forces have been protecting the estate following threats by the Taliban.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
Two more losses finish Manitoba
Community discusses Kapyong urban reserve plan
A delegate situation
Wilco, Arlo Guthrie to perform at 2015 Winnipeg Folk Festival
Gushue, Jacobs to clash in Brier playoff game
Harrison Ford survives crash-landing on golf course
RCMP warn public about "white money" scam
Convicted sex offender sentenced to 7 years for attacking neighbour
Hillary Clinton email trove reviewed for release, security
Life sentence is just that under bill
Canadian Ebola vaccine being put to the test
Envelopes with powder found at ministers' offices
Ashton says he can unite the party against Pallister’s PCs
Man admits to attacks, including sexually assaulting family member
Playoffs unlikely for Manitoba at Brier
New trial ordered for man convicted of 1984 killing of Winnipeg teen
Angry blasts at Prentice for blaming Albertans
Crave TV orders up first original series: Letterkenny
$500,000 a good investment
Canadian pastor detained in North Korea
Plane crashes on LA golf course; pilot critically injured
Birth most common reason for hospitalization in Manitoba: study
Clinton email policy violated Obama administration guidance
Alberta plans huge lease sale on caribou range
Death toll in east Ukraine mine blast reaches 33
Ferguson exposes police prejudice everywhere
Seething comedian fuels up on stupidity for volcanic eruptions
No word yet from Jets on Byfuglien's condition
CEO Sleepout raises $200K, enough to support 50 jobs for homeless
Plane skids off runway at LaGuardia, crashes through fence
Can you hear me now?
Ottawa, province contribute $1.5M to farm-safety projects
Vancouver port fire out; investigation begins
TSN tweet shows social media no Wild West: experts
Fight consensual, not assault: judge
No, really, it will get warm soon
Turmoil on the menu
Chip off the old Rock
Mourners bid goodbye to Froese boys