Musharraf’s remand in Bhutto murder case extended by 14 days

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Former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf’s judicial remand over the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in 2007 was extended by a fortnight today by an anti-terrorism court.

The court of judge Chaudhry Habib-ur-Rehman in Rawalpindi extended Musharraf’s judicial remand till May 28 and also put off hearing his bail application till May 20, prosecutor Chaudhry Azhar told reporters. The next hearing of the Bhutto assassination case will be held on May 28.

Musharraf’s lawyer Salman Safdar did not attend today’s hearing. This was the first hearing after Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali, the chief prosecutor handling the 2008 Mumbai attacks and Bhutto’s assassination, was shot dead by suspected militants in Islamabad on May 3. Musharraf, 69, has been accused of failing to provide adequate security to two-time former premier Benazir Bhutto when she returned to Pakistan from self-exile.

Bhutto was assassinated by a suicide bomber after addressing an election rally in Rawalpindi in December 2007. The former military ruler returned from self-exile in March to lead his party in the May 11 general election but the Peshawar high court barred him from contesting polls for the rest of his life. Musharraf is also facing charges over the sacking of judges during the 2007 emergency and the killing of Baloch leader Akbar Bugti in a 2006 military operation.

Following his arrest in several cases, Musharraf is being held at his farmhouse on the outskirts of Islamabad, which has been declared a “sub-jail” by authorities.

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