Arrest warrant issued against Musharraf (Second Lead)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

ISLAMABAD - A Pakistani court has ordered arrest of former president Pervez Musharraf and directed him to appear before it Feb 19 on the charge that, though he knew it, he did not inform the security authorities of the plot to assassinate former premier Benazir Bhutto.

The non-bailable warrant for Musharraf’s arrest was issued by the anti-terrorism court in the garrison town of Rawalpindi, media reports said Saturday.

The court declared Musharraf as a suspect in the case and also slapped 11 other charges against him, the Dawn reported.

Musharraf was aware the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan was plotting to kill Bhutto but he did not pass on the information to the security authorities, said a team that probed the 2007 assassination of Bhutto.

Musharraf, who for years was bitterly opposed to Bhutto’s return to Pakistan, has in recent times indicated that he would want to come back to the country from self-exile in Britain and join active politics.

Informed sources said JIT head Khalid Qureshi told interior ministry officials that a challan submitted by the Federal Investigation Agency had 12 charges against Musharraf.

Bhutto was assassinated as she was leaving Liaquat Bagh in a motorcade after addressing an election rally in Rawalpindi.

A teenaged shooter was seen aiming for her head in the CCTV footage before a powerful suicide blast killed at least 24 people, including Bhutto.

Musharraf’s name was added to the list of suspects following a statement of former Rawalpindi city police chief Saud Aziz.

Aziz claimed that Musharraf had given the order to change Benazir’s security in-charge. He also claimed that the murder scene was immediately washed on Musharraf’s orders.

Musharraf ruled Pakistan for nine years after taking power in a bloodless coup in 1999. He stepped down in 2008 and left Pakistan. He now lives in London.

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