ISLAMABAD: Former military ruler Pervez Musharraf on Wednesday submitted two surety bonds of Rs100,000, two days after a court granted his bail in the murder case of Lal Masjid cleric Abdul Rasheed Ghazi.
Following the submission of surety, an additional sessions judge issued a written order of Musharraf’s release in the murder case, television reports said.
Earlier on Monday, Islamabad additional district and sessions judge Wajid Ali accepted the post-arrest bail application of 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.
Soon after Additional District and Sessions Judge Wajid Ali issued the release order, reporters and cameramen reached the Chak Shehzad farmhouse hoping to get an opportunity to speak with the former military ruler.
Over a dozen workers of All Pakistan Muslim League (APML), the party formed by Gen Musharraf, also gathered at the place, but were told by senior jail officials that he would be released after completion of the documentation process.
Ahmed Raza Kasuri, a member of Mr Musharraf’s team of lawyers, told reporters that he was not being allowed by police and jail officials to meet Mr Musharraf despite the issuance of release order. He warned that if he was not released on Thursday morning he would take the matter to court.
Kasuri told reporters that the former army chief had no intention to go abroad. “Mr Musharraf will stay in the country and will face cases against him. However, he may go to Dubai to see his mother,” he added.
Answering a question, Mr Kasuri said a joint investigation team constituted to investigate the case in relation to Article 6 of the constitution could not start its work even after three months. “It proves that the JIT was politically motivated and it has no proof.”
Ali Nawab, senior vice-president of the APML’s youth wing, told Dawn that he and his colleagues would stay outside the farmhouse as long as they were not allowed to enter it. He said political activities would be expedited after the release of the party chief.
After receiving the release order, jail superintendent Malik Mushtaq Awan came to the farmhouse to formally inform Gen Musharraf that jail security was being removed and he would soon be freed.
Subsequently, the jail guards comprising 16 personnel headed by an additional superintendent and assisted by two deputy superintendents were removed and the status of farmhouse as sub-jail was de-notified. However, policemen, security agencies personnel and snipers will be there for security of the former president.
Speaking to media representatives outside Musharraf's farmhouse residence, Musharaf's lawyer Ilyas Siddiqui said the former army strongman would approach the Sindh High Court over the inclusion of his name in the exit control list (ECL).
The counsel said Musharraf was now "a free man" and that he had been granted bail in all four cases.
Despite the bail, the 70-year-old is likely to remain under heavy guard at his villa on the edge of Islamabad, where he was placed under house arrest in April, because of serious threats to his life.
His name is currently on the interior ministry’s ECL, which means he cannot leave Pakistan without the approval of the government.
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.
His arrest in the case came five weeks after Ghazi’s son Haroon Rasheed registered the murder charge against him with Aabpara police in Rawalpindi. His arrest had come just a day after he was given bail in the last of three major cases against him dating back to his 1999-2008 rule.
The former commando returned to Pakistan in March to run in the May general election, vowing to “save” the country from economic collapse and militancy.
But he was barred from contesting the election, won convincingly by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif — the man he ousted from power in 1999 — and was hit with a series of criminal cases dating back to his rule.
The ex-ruler has been living in part of his 1,100 square metre (12,000 square foot) house, declared a “sub-jail” under the auspices of a prison in Rawalpindi. He is guarded by some 300 police, paramilitaries and marksmen.
Reports have claimed he is enjoying a comfortable life in detention. He has even had the services of his personal cook because of his fears of being poisoned.
The Taliban have threatened to kill Musharraf, who as president allied Pakistan with Washington in the US “war on terror” in the wake of the Sept 11 attacks.