x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Musharraf charged with murder of radical imam

Pakistan police register murder charges against the former military ruler, Pervez Musharraf, in connection with the death of a radical imam during the siege of a mosque in 2007.

Former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf.
Former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf.

ISLAMABAD // Pakistan police registered murder charges against the former military ruler, Pervez Musharraf, in connection with the death of a radical imam during the siege of a mosque in 2007.

It is the latest in a series of charges dating back to Mr Musharraf's 1999-2008 rule that the retired general has faced since returning from self-imposed exile in Dubai in March.

The imam, Abdul Rashid Ghazi, was one of more than 100 people killed after Pakistani troops stormed the Red Mosque in Islamabad on July 10, 2007. Ghazi's brother, Abdul Aziz, escaped in a burqa.

The operation opened the floodgates to a Taliban-led insurgency that has killed thousands of people in Pakistan.

"The High Court ordered Islamabad police to register murder charges against Musharraf on a petition filed by the son of Rashid Ghazi," said Tariq Asad, a lawyer who represented Ghazi in court.

"The court ordered police to register the case earlier as well, but their instructions were not followed. Today, the court made Islamabad police officials write the case inside the courtroom and comply with the orders right there," he said.

An antiterrorism court last month charged Musharraf with the murder of the former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, who died in a gun and suicide attack after a political rally in December 2007.

It was the first time a head of Pakistan's army has been charged with a crime, challenging beliefs that the military is immune from prosecution.

Mr Musharraf has been under house arrest at his villa on the edge of Islamabad since April.

* Agence France-Presse