Islamabad: Former President Musharraf under house arrest
Islamabad (AsiaNews) - Pakistani police have arrested the former president Pervez Musharraf and led him in the courts, in compliance with an arrest warrant issued by the courts in 2007 for "high treason". TV images immortalized the event, as the ex-President was escorted by security forces in to the court in the capital. The former head of state was taken overnight from his home on the outskirts of Islamabad, following the revocation of bail. According to some sources he will be detained at home, awaiting developments on his political and personal future.
The former Pakistani leader - who recently returned home after four years in exile, to participate in the general elections scheduled for next May 11 - appeared yesterday in the courts, where judges re-issued orders for his arrest, while his lawyers unsuccessfully argued for a bail extension. At the same time, the Election Commission rejected his request to run in the upcoming elections. The commission denied him permission to compete for four different parliamentary seats to which he had been nominated. In a video message released through his Facebook page, the former president asked if "they prevented me from participating in the political battle" just because "I gave hope, security and progress to Pakistan."
Musharraf, 69, is involved in a series of legal battles and is trying to escape arrest for several charges, which include high treason and proceedings regarding the assassination of Benazir Bhutto and another tribal leader in Balochistan. He was also involved in a political-institutional battle with the head of the Supreme Court Iftikhar Chaudhry. The Pakistani Taliban has also promised on several occasions to kill the former president, who came to power in 1999 with a military coup.
According to experts in Pakistani politics, the court's decision "will have consequences" in relations between the army and the judiciary in a country dominated for half of its recent history by the military. Raza Bokhari, a close associate of Musharraf, said that the judges orders are "unprecedented" and "motivated by reasons of personal vendetta" and he has already announced the intention to appeal. The most likely option at the moment is that his home be considered "a type of prison" and that he will remain under house arrest pending future developments on the governmental, institutional and military fronts.