QUETTA: The Balochistan High Court on Saturday dismissed a petition by former military dictator Pervez Musharraf for his trial over the death of Baloch leader Nawab Akbar Bugti to be transferred due to security fears.
The retired general was head of state in 2006 when Bugti died in a military operation, and is facing murder charges in the high profile case being heard by an anti-terrorism court in Quetta. The court had ordered authorities to produce Musharraf before it in the next hearing, scheduled for Sept 10.
Musharraf's lawyers on Saturday asked the Chief Justice of the Balochistan High Court to shift his trial over the Baloch leader's death to Rawalpindi, twin city of the federal capital Islamabad, in Punjab province.
“The court has dismissed our petition saying it is not maintainable,” said Ilyas Siddiqui, a lawyer who represented Musharraf in the court in Quetta.
“We had requested that Musharraf has serious security threats in Balochistan so his case be shifted from the province but the judge did not agree,” Siddiqui said.
Musharraf, who returned to Pakistan from four years of self-imposed exile in March, has been under house arrest at his villa on the edge of Islamabad since April 19. He is also facing charges in other cases, including the 2007 murder of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.
Earlier, the Chief Justice of the Balochistan High Court allowed the provincial government to withdraw a similar petition.
The interim government set up in the province to conduct general elections on May 11 had filed a request in the court for the case to be transferred for security reasons.
However, the newly elected provincial government, which took power in June, withdrew the application and informed the court that they could provide security to Musharraf.
Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti was killed in a cave on August 26, 2006 during a military crackdown allegedly ordered by Musharraf who was president and army chief at the time. Bugti had led a campaign to press for provincial autonomy and a greater share of profits from Balochistan’s natural resources.
The death of the Baloch chieftain had sparked angry protests throughout the country.