Bomb scare near former Pakistan leader Pervez Musharraf’s house delays first hearing in trial

Published: December 24, 2013
Pervez Musharraf Pakistan

Pakistani policemen stand guard near the residence of former Pakistani military ruler Pervez Musharraf in Islamabad on December 24, 2013. AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images

REBECCA SANTANA And ZARAR KHAN
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — A bomb scare delayed the first hearing in a high treason case against former Pakistani leader Pervez Musharraf on Tuesday, police and legal officials said.

The case is the most serious legal challenge Musharraf has faced since returning to the country in March in hopes of taking part in upcoming elections. But what followed — a ban on running for office, house arrest and a cascade of legal cases against him — marked a stunning turn in fortunes for a man once considered the most powerful person in Pakistan and a close American ally.

Authorities on Tuesday found an explosive device and two pistols about one kilometre (half a mile) away from Musharraf’s residence on the Islamabad suburbs, police official Mohammed Ali said.

A lawyer for Musharraf, Anwar Mansoor Khan, told the court that his client could not attend because of a “serious threat to his life.” The chief judge said he understood that it requires “security” to reach the court and directed Musharraf to appear on Jan. 1 for another hearing.

Pervez Musharraf Pakistan

FILE: Former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf. AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images

The brief hearing held Tuesday at an auditorium at the National Library was expected to be largely procedural but the significance of having a former army chief appearing in front of a treason court would be enormous in a country where the military’s power has rarely been challenged.

Security was beefed up outside the National Library, and about a dozen paramilitary Rangers were stationed inside the auditorium where the three-judge panel was to hear the case.

The Pakistani Taliban threatened to kill Musharraf after his return from abroad. He earned the enmity of militants in Pakistan for his support while in office for the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan and the military offensives he ordered in Pakistan’s tribal areas as well as a raid on a mosque in Islamabad.

Musharraf took power during a 1999 coup and ruled Pakistan until 2008 when he was forced to step down. He later left the country and spent about four years in self-imposed exile.

He returned in March only to find himself swiftly arrested on numerous charges stemming from his time in office.

The high treason case stems from his 2007 decision to fire and detain some judges including the country’s chief justice after declaring a state of emergency and suspending the constitution.

The move backfired as lawyers supporting the judges took to the streets in widespread protests that eventually weakened Musharraf’s government so much that he was forced to call new elections and step down.

Musharraf has repeatedly said he is not guilty of the charges, and his legal team has portrayed the repeated legal cases as a “vendetta” against him by the judicial community.

On Tuesday, his lawyers filed petitions challenging the formation of the special court, and the appointment of the judges and the prosecutor.

“We think these judges have a bias against our client,” said a member of Musharraf’s legal team, Mohammad Ali Saif.

Musharraf has spent most of his time since returning to the country under house arrest at his sprawling home in the Islamabad suburbs. The former army commando spends his time working out, swimming in his pool and visiting with old friends, his legal team says.

Meanwhile, a roadside bomb Tuesday struck a vehicle carrying police officers in the northwestern city of Mansehra, killing one of them and wounding two others, local police official Ayaz Khan said.

Mansehra lies about 300 kilometres (180 miles) north of Peshawar.

Also Tuesday, two bombs went off minutes apart in the southern port city of Karachi, killing three people and wounding 26, local police official Mohammed Riaz said.

The blasts took place in the city’s Orangi neighbourhood, hours before minority Shiites were to hold a religious rally there, Riaz said. No one claimed responsibility for the bombings but previous such attacks have been blamed on pro-Taliban Sunni militants who consider Shiites to be heretics.

——

Associated Press writers Riaz Khan in Peshawar, Pakistan, and Munir Ahmed contributed to this report.

10:43ET 24-12-13

[+]

Tags: , , , , , , , ,



Readers Comments (0)

Comments are closed.

Featured

10336715_10152221434949315_4707600074607000802_n

Sikhs bring campaign against violence to Vancouver

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI Sikhs from around the globe are bringing their efforts to “end the silence on violence” to Vancouver this weekend. U.K.-based organization…
Continue Reading »

attack on Parliament Hill

Ottawa shooter kicked out of Burnaby mosque two years ago

Zehaf-Bibeau was asked to leave the mosque, because he had “gotten a hold of keys and stuff from the mosque, and when he got out…
Continue Reading »

gambling-civic elections

Majority of Surrey mayoral candidates flat-out opposed to more casinos in the city

CHRISTOPHER POON SURREY NOW SURREY — Looking back at late 2012 and early 2013, the hot topic in Surrey was a controversial casino and entertainment…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

10336715_10152221434949315_4707600074607000802_n

Sikhs bring campaign against violence to Vancouver

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI Sikhs from around the globe are bringing their efforts to “end the silence on violence” to Vancouver this weekend. U.K.-based organization…
Continue Reading »

attack on Parliament Hill

Ottawa shooter kicked out of Burnaby mosque two years ago

Zehaf-Bibeau was asked to leave the mosque, because he had “gotten a hold of keys and stuff from the mosque, and when he got out…
Continue Reading »

OTTAWA ATTACK-TERRORISM

Canadian Muslim groups denounce violence, brace for backlash following Ottawa rampage

ISHMAEL N. DARO CANADA.COM Representatives of major Canadian Muslim groups gathered in Ottawa today to reiterate their denunciation of terrorism in the name of Islam…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

Stephen Harper

Stephen Harper: Attack by ‘terrorist’ on Parliament Hill won’t weaken Canada’s resolve

JOAN BRYDEN THE CANADIAN PRESS OTTAWA – The gunman who staged a deadly attack Wednesday on Parliament Hill was a terrorist whose despicable crime will…
Continue Reading »

SURREY-FIELD HOCKEY

Barinder Rasode announces plan to develop field hockey pitch in Surrey

Third field at Tamanawis Park would cost approximately $3 million KYLE BENNING SURREY NOW NEWTON – Barinder Rasode and the One Surrey team were at…
Continue Reading »

Vancouver-Surrey-Festival-India

Diwali celebrations in Vancouver and Surrey

DiwaliFest celebrates its 11th anniversary from Oct. 17 to 26 at various sites in Surrey and Vancouver. Diwali Celebration Friday, Oct. 24 at Firehall Centre…
Continue Reading »

India-weird news

Rudaali: India’s professional ‘weeping women’ demand higher pay

CEN AGENCY Professional mourners who are hired to turn up at people’s funerals in India, beat their breasts and wail, are going on strike for…
Continue Reading »

Abbotsford

Jag Khosa: Families pay the ultimate price of gang wars

DET. JAG KHOSA SPECIAL TO VANCOUVER DESI Late into the night, the parents of a young man struggled to sleep. The mother kept tossing and…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Salman Khan-Bollywood

Narendra Modi to attend Salman Khan’s sister Arpita Khan’s wedding?

HINDUSTAN TIMES If all goes as per plan, then Prime Minister Narendra Modi just might be attending the wedding of Salman Khan’s sister, Arpita Khan….
Continue Reading »

Bollywood kiss

Bollywood’s king of kisses Emraan Hashmi refuses to dance with the queen of sex Sunny Leone

VANCOUVER DESI Bollywood’s serial kisser Emraan Hashmi has refused to share screen space with porn star-turned Bollywood-actress Sunny Leone, Indian tabloid Mid-Day reported. Hashmi, who…
Continue Reading »

Jackie Chan

First India-China joint venture film starring Jackie Chan launched

HINDUSTAN TIMES Chinese action star Jackie Chan will star in the first Sino-India joint film production slated to go on the floors in the coming…
Continue Reading »