The legal woes of Pakistan’s former military ruler Pervez Musharraf continued to deepen as the Islamabad High Court rejected his bail plea on Wednesday, in a case relating to the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in 2007.
Musharraf who is facing a slew of lawsuits is presently held under judicial custody after his bail plea in connection with the illegal detainment of over 60 judges during the 2007 emergency, was rejected by another court, Apr. 18. An anti-terrorism court in Islamabad on Saturday remanded him to judicial custody for a fortnight till May 4 and placed him under house arrest in his farmhouse for security reasons.
Besides, Musharraf was also disqualified from contesting the Pakistan general elections scheduled for May 11, effectively ending his political ambitions
An Associated Press report citing government prosecutor Zulfikar Chaudhry stated that Musharraf’s petition at the Islamabad High Court was rejected on Wednesday after his lawyer failed to appear before the judge to argue for an extension of the bail plea in the Bhutto assassination case.
"The court dismissed General Musharraf's bail application," prosecution lawyer Chaudhry Azhar told reporters.
"Now the FIA (Federal Investigative Agency) should arrest him," he added.
The 69-year-old leader, who attended a separate hearing relating to the Bhutto case on Tuesday, failed to appear before the High Court on Wednesday.
The former military ruler is facing trial for his alleged involvement in a conspiracy to kill former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who died in a gun and bomb attack in 2007 during an election rally.
Musharraf denies the allegations and blamed the Pakistani Taliban for killing of the former Prime Minister. However, the Taliban denied any involvement in the assassination.
Meanwhile, government investigators claim they have evidence of his involvement, while a U.N. report holds Musharraf responsible for the incident as his government failed to provide adequate security to Bhutto.
On Tuesday, police said they recovered a car carrying detonators and explosives on the road leading to Musharraf's house. Taliban which had earlier threatened to kill him denied any involvement in this incident.
On Apr. 22, Musharraf managed to secure a temporary relief as the interim government in Pakistan refused to take any action against him on a treason case stating that it is beyond their mandate.
The former army ruler 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. He survived three attempts on his life during his rule.
The former army chief became Pakistan 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.