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

On Everest, Helicopters Rescue Stranded Climbers

Choppers transport some of more than 100 mountaineers trapped after deadly quake, avalanches More

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

In 2005, a Paris suburb exploded into violence after two teenagers were electrocuted as they hid from police; since then, somethings have changed, others not More

US, Japan Announce Historic Revision of Defense Cooperation Guidelines

Nations say new guidelines will be 'cornerstone for peace and security' in Asia-Pacific region while also serving as 'platform for a more stable international security environment' 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.
‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europei
X
Henry Ridgwell
April 26, 2015 10:36 PM
Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video ‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europe

Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

January’s terrorist attacks and fears of more to come are casting a spotlight on France’s neglected suburbs. Home to many immigrants, and sometimes hubs of crime, they were rocked by rioting a decade ago. Lisa Bryant visited the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, where the 2005 violence first broke out, and has this report about what has changed and what has not.
Video

Video Gay Marriage Goes Before US Supreme Court

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether gay people have a constitutional right to marriage. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the case could lead to the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, or a continuation of the status quo in which individual states decide whether to recognize gay unions.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

VOA Blogs