Former Pakistani leader Musharraf charged with 2007 assassination of ex-PM


Former Pakistani leader Musharraf charged with 2007 assassination of ex-PM

A Pakistani court on Tuesday indicted former president and army chief Pervez Musharraf on murder charges in connection with the 2007 assassination of iconic Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, deepening the fall of a once-powerful figure who returned to the country this year to make a political comeback.

The decision by a court in Rawalpindi marks the first time Musharraf, or any former army chief in Pakistan, has been charged with a crime. 

Musharraf, who took power in a 1999 coup and stepped down from office in disgrace nearly a decade later, now faces a litany of legal problems that have in many ways broken taboos on the inviolability of the once-sacrosanct military in Pakistani society. He is currently under house arrest in connection with one of the cases against him.

The retired general has been charged with murder, conspiracy to commit murder and facilitation for murder, said prosecutor Chaudry Muhammed Azhar. He did not specify what exactly Musharraf was accused of doing but prosecutors have previously accused him of failing to provide enough protection to Bhutto.

The former army commando appeared in person during the brief morning hearing, and pleaded not guilty, said Afshan Adil, a member of Musharraf’s legal team.

“These are all fabricated cases. There is nothing solid in all these case,” she said.

Bhutto was killed in 2007 during a gun and bomb attack at a rally in the city of Rawalpindi, the sister city to the Pakistani capital, Islamabad. Prosecutors have said that Musharraf, who was president at the time, failed to properly protect her.

Bhutto is the daughter of former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who was himself executed in 1977 after being deposed in a coup. His daughter is widely respected in Pakistan for her political commitment — she was jailed multiple times — and her condemnation of militancy and support for Pakistan’s poor.

She returned to Pakistan under a deal with Musharraf allowing her to take part in upcoming elections, and his supporters point to the deal as proof that he had no objections to her return.

Her assassination set off a wave of protests across the country and helped propel her Pakistan People’s Party to office and her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, to the presidency.

The judge set August 27 as the next court date to present evidence.

Musharraf returned to Pakistan in March after nearly four years outside the country and vowed to take part in the country’s May elections. But he has little popular support in Pakistan and ever since his return has faced a litany of legal problems related to his rule.

Musharraf has repeatedly vowed that he returned to lead his supporters in the election and that he would clear his name of all charges. But many questioned why Musharraf decided to come back considering the legal problems he’d be facing and his almost non-existent popularity.

His return and legal troubles have put the military and newly elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a delicate position. Pakistan has undergone three coups since the country’s inception in 1947, and the military is considered the most powerful institution.

The military’s top leadership is not believed to have supported Musharraf’s return from exile but they also would likely not want to see one of their own put behind bars or treated unfairly.

The case is also part of a strange changing of places for Sharif and Musharraf. It was Sharif who was deposed by Musharraf in 1999, and then forced into exile. But Sharif eventually returned to Pakistan, waited out five years in opposition and then led his Pakistan Muslim League-N to a resounding victory in the May 11 elections.

Sharif must tread carefully with the man who once put him in handcuffs. The new prime minister has his plate full of other problems and pushing aggressively for Musharraf’s conviction could force a confrontation with the military that Sharif would prefer to avoid.

Musharraf has been confined to his house on the outskirts of Islamabad, and was brought to court Tuesday amid tight security.

In addition to the Bhutto case, Musharraf is involved in a case related to the 2007 detention of judges and the death of a Baluch nationalist leader. The government is also pursuing a treason case against him in connection with the judges’ detention case.

Musharraf has faced threats from the Pakistani Taliban who tried to assassinate him twice while he was in office and vowed to try again if he returned.

In case you have found a mistake in the text, please send a message to the editor by selecting the mistake and pressing Ctrl-Enter.
Share |


12/0420:00 Upcoming EU Parliamentary debate, political groups call for an effective peace in Karabakh 31/0313:56 Get Rooted Tours of ATP’s Karin Nursery Promise to Inspire 15/0316:04 ATP Scales Up Environmental Education with New Coalition of Partners 23/0215:20 “Avetis” Armenian-Swiss association celebrates its 5th anniversary 02/0200:00 A Record Breaking Year for Environmental Education in Armenia 23/1220:57 Nearly 230,000 Trees Make 2015 a Green One for ATP and Communities throughout Armenia and Artsakh 06/1213:20 The head of the commission. Тhe information about staffing the ballot box doesn’t coincide with the reality 17/1116:56 Soar Productions Arrange Conan O’Brien’s Armenian Trip 22/1016:15 Mariam. The girl with unlimited abilities 02/1012:26 ATP Opens Its Doors for Greening Events Throughout Armenia 25/0914:42 Fall for Armenia tree project 29/0720:23 Government held a regular meeting of the council supporting development of information technologies 29/0718:00 Armenia Business Climate Indicator falls 29/0716:50 Armenian PM meets with Iraqi Kurdistan minister 29/0716:32 “Breaking the Silence”: “I want my children and grandchildren to live in a better world without genocide” 29/0716:08 Michel Platini confirms he will stand for presidency 29/0715:50 Armenia’s active participation in all these programs will be continued 29/0715:33 Energy cooperation of Armenia and Iran discussed in Yerevan 29/0715:19 Tomato procurement starts in Armenia on August 1 - agriculture ministry 29/0715:00 Armenian government to allocate funds for excavations of Arshakuni dynasty sepulcher 29/0714:41 Chkalov village provided with drinking water with support of VIvaCell-MTS and two foundations 29/0714:20 Gérard Depardieu gets 5-year ban on entry to Ukraine 29/0714:03 Microsoft launches Windows 10 operating system 29/0713:49 Azerbaijani high-ranking military officers arrested on corruption charges 29/0713:30 The Turks to ISIS: ‘Let’s Make a Deal’ 29/0713:11 Tom Cruise's Lip Sync Battle with Jimmy Fallon 29/0712:51 Azerbaijani media reports false – NKR defense office 29/0712:33 Nagorno-Karabakh deputy FM receives ICRC reps 29/0712:13 Channel Tunnel migrant crisis: Man dies as 1,500 try to enter 29/0711:52 Erdogan is pursuing his self-interests, instead of fighting ISIS terrorists 29/0711:30 Traffic accident in Abovyan 29/0711:05 President sends congratulatory message To Armenian Catholic Catholicos Patriarch Of Cilicia 29/0710:44 Azerbaijan continues ceasefire violations 29/0710:25 The post of Armenia’s minister of justice has remained vacant for 15 days 29/0710:10 Taliban leader Mullah Omar 'is dead' 29/0709:53 Tokyo Games chief apologizes for stadium fiasco 29/0709:33 Hovik Abrahamyan holds farewell meeting with Head of EU Delegation to Armenia 29/0709:14 Eddie Redmayne and Julianne Moore aim for double Oscar success 25/0713:50 Erdogan confirms air strikes against Kurdish militants 25/0713:33 Armenia’s defense minister receives Russian Defense Ministry delegation 25/0713:11 Albuquerque Journal Editorial: Junkets are never really free 25/0712:50 Casillas concedes 2 goals from Borussia Mönchengladbach 25/0712:30 Argentinian journalist receives Hrant Dink Award for Armenian Cause promotion in mass media 25/0712:14 Snap election in Shirak province 25/0711:49 The State of Rio de Janeiro recognizes the Armenian Genocide 25/0711:25 Armenian armed forces retaliate, cause losses to enemy – Artsrun Hovhannisyan 25/0711:04 Azerbaijan continues ceasefire violations 25/0710:53 President Serzh Sargsyan takes short vacation 25/0710:38 Assyrian Federation “Khayadta”: Armenia must take up role of leader of struggle against genocides 25/0710:14 Lightning strike kills 7, including 4 children, in Mexico 25/0709:54 President Obama due to begin busy Kenya schedule 25/0709:35 Turkey vows to continue campaign against Islamic State militants 22/0721:26 Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan attends consecration ceremony of new church in Nor Hachn city 22/0721:00 Armenian athletes compete in European Shooting Championship in Slovenia 22/0720:00 Azerbaijan files criminal charges against German Sterligov 22/0719:00 Belgian Chamber of Deputies starts debates on Armenian Genocide motion 22/0718:43 Armenia breaking stereotypes – rich cultural heritage, prosperity, safety and fun-loving people await tourists 22/0718:29 President Sargsyan meets with outgoing ambassador of Belarus 22/0717:34 Armenia and Israel discuss civil aviation safety 22/0717:14 Karabakh conflict settlement must be priority for us: Donald Tusk 22/0716:53 Armenia’s premier, Italian ambassador discuss economic cooperation 22/0716:35 A project on improvement of the energy system was worked out and it has to ensure its stability and reliability 22/0716:12 HayPost International – A New Bridge between Armenia and USA 22/0715:52 We should worry more about Erdogan's dangerous actions than his crazy stories 22/0715:24 Orange, Ucom negotiate sale of shares 22/0714:56 Turkish court blocks Twitter, issues media ban over Suruç bombing 22/0714:33 Armenian frontier guards release Azerbaijani border violators after explanatory talk 22/0714:02 Back wages of Nairit Plant workers to be paid within 3 days 22/0713:45 No violation of cease-fire regime recorded during OSCE Mission monitoring 22/0713:30 Blessing of ‘Holy Muron’ Held at Genocide Memorial in Bikfaya 22/0713:13 European Armenian Federation Condemns Suruc Terrorist Attack 22/0712:52 Identity of Suruç bomber confirmed 22/0712:37 'Oldest' Koran fragments found in Birmingham University 22/0712:19 Defense Army of Nagorno Karabakh stops offensive actions of Azerbaijani troops 22/0712:00 Defense minister of Armenia inspects situation on the frontline, gives instructions 22/0711:40 Greece crisis: Greek MPs prepare for second vote on bailout reforms 22/0711:22 Apple posts record third-quarter as iPhone sales surge 22/0711:00 Azerbaijani information about explosion of tanks is a figment of imagination 20/0721:39 Armenia President conveys condolences to Turkey President 20/0719:40 RTA in Shahumyan village 20/0719:15 Armenia president receives OSCE mediators 20/0718:38 Weather in Armenia: Temperatures set to rise on July 21 20/0718:12 Turkey's Erdogan condemns those behind 'terrorist attack' 20/0717:55 Armenia and Karabakh MFAs’ media representatives hold consultations 20/0717:38 Armenia Premier and EEC official discuss intensification of collaboration 20/0717:18 Donald Tusk: EU aims at reaching free visa regime with Armenia 20/0716:57 European Council president visits Memorial to Armenian Genocide victims 20/0716:39 Return of territories is element of Karabakh settlement: OSCE Co-Chair 20/0716:15 Armenia PM and European Council chief confer on cooperation 20/0715:53 RTA with fatal outcome on Yerevan-Meghri road 20/0715:37 Armenia’s agriculture minister leaves for US 20/0715:09 Armenia is ready to move forward on the way of reasonable concessions 20/0714:42 Coptic Pope Tawadros prays for Armenian Genocide victims 20/0714:14 German Sterligov: That’s it! I am going to my children, who are in the ancient Armenian city of Shushi 20/0713:52 Armenian Catholicos receives Catholic Church of Spain pilgrims 20/0713:33 Man found dead in Demi Moore's pool 20/0713:17 At least 27 dead in suspected ISIL suicide bombing in Turkey's border with Syria 20/0712:57 Michel Platini: Uefa boss asked to stand for Fifa presidency 20/0712:36 Donald Tusk to meet with opposition parliamentary groups in Armenia 20/0712:20 RTA on Tevosyan street