Former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf has been remanded to judicial custody for a fortnight, when he appeared before an anti-terrorism court in Islamabad on Saturday, in connection with his decision to impose a house arrest order on judges in March 2007 during his "emergency rule."
He was produced before the Islamabad's anti-terror court on Saturday, following the Islamabad High Court’s ruling on Thursday that the allegations against him amounted to an act of terrorism and he should appear before an anti-terrorism court.
Judge Kausar Abbas Zaidi of the anti-terrorism court placed the former military ruler under judicial custody till May 4, after hearing the arguments by his counsel and the lawyer appointed by several others, who filed petitions against him.
During the hearing at the court, Musharraf’s lawyer Qamar Afzal told the judge that he is cooperating with the investigating officers in the case in which he is accused of ordering the confinement of more than 60 judges during the 2007 emergency rule, when he was in power, the Press Trust of India (PTI) reported.
Afzal told the judge that the former military chief should be placed under judicial custody for security reasons, while Ashraf Gujjar, the lawyer for those who have filed petitions against him argued that the former president should be placed under police custody as fresh investigation is required on his decision to impose emergency in 2007.
On Apr. 18, the High Court had canceled his bail petition and issued an arrest warrant against him. However, the former military chief of Pakistan managed to evade arrest on Thursday, as he fled the court premises with the help of his personal security. The High Court had ordered an inquiry against Islamabad Inspector General of Police Bani Amin following the former president’s dramatic escape from the court despite a court order to arrest him.
Nevertheless, the 69-year-old former Pakistani President was arrested on Friday from his farmhouse in Chak Shahzad on the outskirts of Islamabad. On the same day, he was produced before a judicial magistrate at the Islamabad District Court and was granted a two-day “transit remand.”
Following the order, Musharraf was detained in his farmhouse for few hours in Friday and subsequently was transported to police lines headquarters where he stayed at the officers’ mess.
It is not yet clear, where the former military strongman will be placed in judicial custody as the local administration reportedly has advised the Islamabad commissioner to declare Musharraf’s farmhouse as a “sub-jail” so that he could detained there for security reasons.
Musharraf arrived in Pakistan in March last week after ending four years of self-imposed exile and defying death threats to contest in the May general elections. The retired general is battling a slew of court cases since his arrival.
Earlier this week, Musharraf was disqualified from contesting in the general elections, effectively ending his political ambitions. He is also barred by the courts from leaving the country.
Musharraf is also battling several other cases, including conspiracy to murder opposition leader Benazir Bhutto in 2007.
The former army chief became president following a bloodless military coup in 1999 and ruled the country until August 2008. He resigned following a threat of impeachment by a newly-elected parliament and opted for an exile to escape legal charges.