Bhutto assassination case: Musharraf remanded to FIA custody

Pakistan’s embattled ex-military ruler Pervez Musharraf was today remanded to the custody of the Federal Investigation Agency till April 30 by a anti-terrorism court in connection with 2007 assassination case of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

Official sources told PTI that Musharraf would continue to be held at his farmhouse on the outskirts of Islamabad, declared a “sub-jail” by authorities, while he is questioned by a joint investigation team of the FIA.

During a brief hearing at the anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi, held in tight security, Judge Chaudhry Habib-ur-Rehman accepted the FIA’s request to be given physical custody of the 69-year-old former military ruler.

The FIA’s lawyers told the judge that they wanted physical custody of Musharraf so that he could be questioned in connection with the probe into Bhutto’s assassination.

The judge directed the FIA to produce Musharraf in court again on April 30. The judge rejected a request from Musharraf’s lawyers for changing the joint investigation team, officials said. Musharraf, who faces threats from various militant organisation including the Pakistani Taliban, was driven in a motorcade from his residence to the anti-terrorism court shortly before 10 am. Scores of policemen and armed paramilitary troopers were deployed at the court complex to deter protests against the former dictator.

During Musharraf’s last appearance at the same court earlier this week, several persons were injured when the former President’s supporters clashed with lawyers. The media was barred from the courtroom during today’s proceedings. Footage on television showed Musharraf’s motorcade leaving the court complex after the proceedings.

Musharraf was formally arrested by the FIA yesterday after the anti-terrorism court directed investigators to include him in the probe into the 2007 assassination. The FIA joint investigation team also recorded Musharraf’s statement last night.

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