Former president Pervez Musharraf was just packing his bags on Thursday when he was rearrested following accusations that he was personally responsible for the deaths of Lal Masjid cleric Abdul Rashid Ghazi and his mother during the 2007 military operation at the mosque and Jamia Hafsa.
Less than 24 hours before, Musharraf had been declared a free man and had won clearance from the Supreme Court in the Akbar Bugti murder case. Islamabad police then arrested the former army chief, who was preparing to fly to Dubai upon formally clearing some legal hurdles.
Earlier, Musharraf’s legal team deposited surety bonds with the Supreme Court’s registrar office and the court also issued a release order.
Musharraf’s farmhouse has been declared a sub-jail, where the case will be heard for security reasons. A team of the capital city police also recorded his statement in the case and he is likely to be presented in court for a judicial remand today (Friday).
Dr Amjad Malik, the secretary general of the All Pakistan Muslim League, told The Express Tribune that after Musharraf gets a judicial remand, the legal team will apply for a bail application so that he could be declared free – again.
A lawyer for Musharraf, Ahmad Raza Kasuri, confirmed the arrest but said there was no evidence against his client.
“There is nothing to worry about because it is virtually a case of no evidence,” Kasuri said. “It was a state action, a military action.”
The FIR was registered against him on the direction of the Islamabad High Court on September 3. However, on Thursday, the Lal Masjid Shohada Foundation (LMSF) filed a petition in the high court seeking the inclusion of Musharraf’s name on the Exit Control List (ECL).
Haroon Rasheed Ghazi, son of Maulana Abdul Rashid Ghazi, filed the petition through his advocate Tariq Asad, submitting that he is set to leave the country despite a murder case being registered against him.
Justice Noorul Haq N Qureshi had directed the police to register an FIR in response to the petition which will be taken up today (Friday).
He is currently facing trial in four cases: judges’ detention and the murders of Benazir Bhutto and Nawab Akbar Bugti, and now the Lal Masjid operation.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 11th, 2013.