Former Pakistan President Musharraf 'absconded'

AFP
A Pakistani court yesterday branded former president Pervez Musharraf a fugitive in ex-prime minister Benazir Bhutto’s murder trial.
AFP
AFP

A Pakistani anti-terrorism court official (C) announces the verdict for ex-prime minister Benazir Bhutto's murder trial at Adyala Prison in Rawalpindi on August 31, 2017.

A Pakistani court yesterday branded former president Pervez Musharraf a fugitive in ex-prime minister Benazir Bhutto’s murder trial, but acquitted five men accused of involvement in the 2007 assassination.

The verdicts are the first to be issued since Bhutto, the first female prime minister of a Muslim country, was killed in a gun and suicide bomb attack nearly a decade ago, sparking street violence and plunging Pakistan into months of political turmoil.

The judge also found two police officers guilty of “mishandling the crime scene”, the court official said, making them the only people to have been convicted over the assassination.

Musharraf is alleged to have been part of a broad conspiracy to have his political rival killed before elections. He has denied the allegation.

He was charged with murder, criminal conspiracy for murder, and facilitation for murder in 2013, in an unprecedented move against an ex-army chief, challenging beliefs the military is immune from prosecution.

But he has been in self-imposed exile in Dubai ever since a travel ban was lifted three years later.

The anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi ruled he had “absconded,” a court official told reporters outside, saying it had also ordered the confiscation of his property.

The judge also acquitted five men who had been accused of being Taliban militants involved in the conspiracy to kill Bhutto on December 27, 2007.

They were set to walk free nearly 10 years after they were first arrested, though a defense lawyer said it was not yet clear when they would be released.


Special Reports
Top