Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Pervez Musharraf charged with murder of Benazir Bhutto - Telegraph.co.uk

Mr Musharraf's legal team has said all along that the charges against him are politically motivated.

"All the cases against Musharraf are fabricated. He denied all the charges," said Afshan Adil, one of his lawyers.

Scores of armed guards surrounded the court, not far from where Mrs Bhutto was killed as she left a campaign rally.

There was no public claim of responsibility for her murder although Mr Musharraf's government at the time released what it said were intercepted conversations showing the Baitullah Mehsud, the leader of the Pakistan Taliban, was responsible. He has since been killed in a US drone strike.

A United Nations investigation concluded that Mrs Bhutto's death could have been prevented with better security.

In the weeks running up to her death, Mrs Bhutto claimed her life was in danger and asked for better protection.

The indictment follows lingering speculation about the possibility of a behind-the-scenes deal that could allow Mr Musharraf to leave Pakistan without facing the courts and embarrassing the military.

For now, Mr Musharraf remains under house arrest at his Mediterranean-style villa outside Islamabad pondering whether he made the right decision to return earlier this year to contest elections – elections from which he was barred by the court.

One of his former advisers said: "It is a mystery to us why he ever returned. Maybe it was arrogance, hubris, and he thought the country still loved him. Or maybe he was just homesick."

The new government, led by Mr Sharif, has said he should stand trial for treason for subverting the constitution and has appointed a committee to investigate him.

The offence carries the death penalty or life imprisonment.

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