Pre-arrest bail of Musharraf extended by six days

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A Pakistani court today extended the pre-arrest bail of former military ruler Pervez Musharraf by six days during proceedings conducted amid tight security.

Musharraf, 69, had applied to the Islamabad high court for the extension of his bail in a case registered against him for placing dozens of judges under house arrest after imposing emergency rule in late 2007.

Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui extended the pre-arrest bail till April 18 after hearing arguments by Musharraf’s lawyer. The judge directed Musharraf, who appeared in court wearing a bulletproof jacket, to deposit Rs 5 lakhs as surety.

The judge pointed out that Musharraf should have gone to a sessions court to seek the extension of his bail. Musharraf’s lawyer said he had come to the high court because of security concerns.

Musharraf was late in arriving at the court by over half an hour, and his lawyer attributed the delay to security concerns. When Musharraf finally drove into the court complex in a motorcade of two black SUVs escorted by the police vans, he found that the judge had gone for a tea break.

The former President had to wait for about 25 minutes in his SUV till the judge returned to the courtroom. The court complex was surrounded by the police and paramilitary personnel.

Dozens of Musharraf’s supporters also gathered at the complex. Musharraf walked into the courtroom flanked by several bodyguards.

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