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Musharraf gets bail in Lal Masjid case

November 05, 2013

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ISLAMABAD, Nov 4: A court granted on Monday bail to former president retired Gen Pervez Musharraf in the murder case of Lal Masjid cleric Abdul Rasheed Ghazi.

Additional district and sessions judge Wajid Ali accepted the post-arrest bail application of Gen Musharraf on two surety bonds of Rs100,000 each in the fourth case which the former military dictator has been facing after his return to Pakistan in March this year.

The former president was arrested last month in the murder case of Abdul Rasheed Ghazi and his mother Sahib Khatoon. They were killed during an operation on the mosque in 2007.

In the challan, the Islamabad police declared Gen Musharraf as ‘innocent’ and placed him at the mercy of the court.

Lal Masjid counsel Advocate Tariq Asad told the court that police had completed the investigation in haste and did not include post-mortem report of Rasheed Ghazi in the challan. He claimed that there was enough evidence to prove involvement of the former military dictator in the case.

Ilyas Siddiqui, the counsel of Gen Musharraf, said the former president had been in confinement and the matter could not be delayed because of legal hitches. According to the National Judicial Policy, a trial court was required to decide a bail plea within five days, he said.Soon after the rejection of his bail application by the Islamabad High Court in the judges’ detention case on April 18, Gen Musharraf was arrested and the Federal Investigation Agency took him into custody in the Benazir Bhutto murder case and the Crime Branch, Quetta, arrested him in the Akbar Bugti murder case.

Meanwhile, leaders of Gen Musharraf’s political party, All Pakistan Muslim League, claimed that the former military dictator would take part in politics.

They said that soon after his release from Chak Shahzad farmhouse, which had been declared a sub-jail, the former army chief would leave for Dubai to meet his ailing mother.

His political adviser Chaudhry Sarfraz Anjum Kahlon told Dawn that the former army chief would challenge his disqualification from taking part in politics.

He asked the Election Commission of Pakistan to apologise to the former president for preventing him from contesting the May elections.

Mr Kahlon said Gen Musharraf had not reached any deal with the government for going abroad and he planned to play his role in national politics.

Retired Major General Rashid Qureshi, the former president’s close aide, said Gen Musharraf could go to Dubai to see his mother but he would return.

He expressed apprehensions that certain quarters could challenge the bail in an appellate court and obstruct Gen Musharraf’s release.

APML leader Ahmed Raza Kasuri said that Gen Musharraf still faced an inquiry in the ‘high treason’ case.

He said Gen Musharraf would definitely come back to the country if he went to Dubai or any other country.

Kalbe Hassan, vice chairman of the Pakistan Bar Council, told Dawn that if the former dictator was allowed to go abroad there were little chances of his returning to the country.

“Musharraf’s presence in Pakistan disturbs the government and other institutions and everybody wants him to stay abroad,” he said.