ISLAMABAD: A Pakistani court extended the custody of former dictator Pervez Musharraf on Friday, dampening hopes he would be able to leave the country any time soon, following months under house arrest and legal wrangling over his fate.
Musharraf was arrested two weeks ago on charges of murdering Abdul Rasheed Ghazi, the prayer leader of the ‘Lal Masjid’ (Red Mosque) in a 2007 raid on the mosque – just as his lawyer announced the former ruler was free to leave the country after being granted bail in another, unrelated case.
“The judicial magistrate extended the custody of Musharraf till October 29,” Iftikhar Chattha, an investigation officer, told Reuters, adding that the investigation had not yet finished.
Musharraf seized power in a 1999 coup but was forced into exile nine years later after a showdown with the judiciary. He returned to Pakistan this year to contest May elections but was barred from standing by a flurry of court cases.
The arrest of Musharraf – a former army chief – was unprecedented in a country ruled by the powerful military for more than half of its life.
Despite his arrest, Musharraf is not being held in a jail with common criminals.
Friday’s hearing was held at his villa on the outskirts of Islamabad. The house has been declared a sub-jail by the authorities.