News / Asia

Pakistan’s Former Military Ruler Arrested

Pakistan's former President and head of the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) political party Pervez Musharraf salutes as he arrives to unveil his party manifesto for the forthcoming general election at his residence in Islamabad April 15, 2013.
Pakistan's former President and head of the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) political party Pervez Musharraf salutes as he arrives to unveil his party manifesto for the forthcoming general election at his residence in Islamabad April 15, 2013.
Sharon Behn
Pakistan’s former military ruler Pervez Musharraf was arrested Friday in connection with his unconstitutional dismissal of top judges while he was president.
 
A convoy of armed police escorted the former president to court early Friday from his farmhouse on the outskirts of Islamabad.
 
After appearing before a judge, who swiftly placed him under arrest and ordered him to appear before an anti-terrorism court in two day's time, Musharraf was allowed to return to his house before being taken to Islamabad police headquarters.
 
Musharraf did not resist the detention, and plans to appeal his case to the Supreme Court.
 
Speaking outside of the gate of Musharraf’s home, top party leader Mohammad Amjad said the former president is ready to cooperate with any investigation.
 
“He is under house arrest," said Amjad. "This morning he went to the judicial magistrate by himself and he surrendered himself before the magistrate and said 'I want to be a part of the investigation against the trial which is pending in the Thana secretariat [police station where the case was registered].'”
 
It is the first time that a former president or military chief has been arrested by a civilian judiciary order. Pakistan has had three military coups and been under military rule for most of its 65-year history.
 
Government employee Mohammad Omar, who was among a group at an Islamabad market discussing the latest news, said the court’s action sent an important message.
 
“The message for the military is that they should remain within their limits,” he said. “They are supposed to defend our borders and not get involved in internal matters. It is the job of a democratic government to govern, and the job of the military to defend the border.”
 
Retired General Talat Masood said the military establishment was not happy about the detention, as it opens the door for additional action against the country’s most powerful institution.
 
“The army will be worried and very concerned that others may be arrested or will be charged for complicity, because Musharraf will say that 'I am not alone' when the case is opened up," said Masood. "There are several cases against him, so I think he will try to involve his other colleagues, which were with him, and that of course will spread the net.”
 
Masood, who cautions that much will depend on the judiciary’s approach to the case, says there is little the military can do to stop the process without risking a backlash among the Pakistani people.
 
Defense analyst Ayesha Siddiqa says the courteous way in which the former president was taken to court shows there are efforts to keep the case from turning ugly.
 
“This is a compromise," said Siddiqa, explaining that Musharraf's house arrest is significant. "[He was] not arrested from the courtroom, he was arrested from his house in Chak Shahzad — he’ll probably be kept there, you know, until ... the judiciary [can] see how they can get rid of this man without creating too much embarrassment.”
 
Musharraf initially fled the Islamabad High Court Thursday when the judge refused to extend his pre-trial bail, clearing the way for his arrest. Ahmed Raza Kasuri, one of Musharraf’s senior lawyers, told VOA that the former president would appeal his case all the way to the Supreme Court and denied that the former military dictator would try to leave the country.
 
“He’s going to stay with the people of Pakistan in their hour of crisis," Kasuri said. "So in the coming days, how the political events take turn, that is to be seen.”
 
Musharraf seized power in a military coup in 1999. He was forced to step down in 2008 under threat of impeachment. After roughly four years of self-imposed exile, Musharraf returned to Pakistan late last month with plans to run for parliament in general elections this May.  Since his return, courts have ruled him ineligible for the poll. He is facing several other pending criminal cases dating to his time in power.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Shahpoor Ahmad from: Kabul
April 20, 2013 1:54 AM
this first military leaders that arrested by high courts, but yet not clear what is feedback of military against the judges. Musharaf is members of those leader to support Taleban insurgency in Afghanistan.

by: Anonymous
April 19, 2013 5:30 PM
He was the only leader of Pakistan that I ever actually liked.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs