News / Asia

Pakistan’s Musharraf Indicted for Bhutto Killing

FILE - Pakistan's former President Pervez
FILE - Pakistan's former President Pervez
Ayaz Gul
An anti-terrorism court in Pakistan Tuesday indicted former military leader Pervez Musharraf on charges of conspiring to murder  Benazir Bhutto, the country’s iconic politician who was twice elected as prime minister.
 
The court hearing took place amid extremely tight security in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, where the powerful military is headquartered. Journalists were not allowed in the court room for a hearing that lasted just 20 minutes. 
 
A car carrying former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, who is the head of the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) political party, arrives at an anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi, August 20, 2013.A car carrying former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, who is the head of the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) political party, arrives at an anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi, August 20, 2013.
x
A car carrying former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, who is the head of the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) political party, arrives at an anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi, August 20, 2013.
A car carrying former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, who is the head of the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) political party, arrives at an anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi, August 20, 2013.
Prosecutor Chaudhry Mohammad Azhar says former President Musharraf was personally present in the court when the judge read out charges to him. He told VOA the former army chief has been charged with murder, conspiracy to murder and facilitating the crime.
 
“Yes, he [Musharraf] did appear himself and he was read over the charge against him. He pleaded not guilty and opted to be tried in the case,” Azhar said.
 
This is the first time that a former army chief has been charged with a crime in Pakistan, where the top military leadership until now has been considered untouchable by the courts.
 
The army has run the country for nearly half its 66-year history, and intervened at times through coups. The army continues to dominate foreign policy matters even though Pakistan is witnessing a sustained period of democratic rule since President Musharraf resigned under threat of impeachment in 2008.    
 
Prosecutor Azhar says that Tuesday’s indictment has marked the formal beginning of the high-profile trial of Musharraf and the next proceedings will take place on August 27, when the court will record evidence against him.
 
Following the hearing Tuesday morning, defense lawyer, Afshan Adil, spoke with reporters outside the court and again rejected charges against her client, calling them fabricated.
 
“The [former] President denied all charges. He is not involved in the case at all, totally," Adil said. "In fact, I believe that of all the offenses that he has been charged with, not a single case is applicable on the President. I don’t know how these proceedings are being carried out against him.”

American lobbyist Mark Siegel, a former Bhutto speech writer, accused Musharraf of threatening her in a phone call before she returned to Pakistan from exile in October 2007. Siegel's U.S. law firm Locke Lord declined to comment when asked by VOA for his reaction to the indictment.
 
Pervez Musharraf seized power in a 1999 coup and went on to rule Pakistan as military president for nearly a decade. The former army commando stepped down from office to avoid impeachment and left the country few months later after his supporters were defeated in the 2008 national elections.
 
He was ruling the country when Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in December of 2007. She was killed in a gun-and-bomb attack during an election rally in Rawalpindi, just weeks after she came back to Pakistan from years in self-imposed exile.
 
Authorities at the time blamed Taliban extremists. Musharraf insists he warned Bhutto of the danger she faced, rejecting allegations that he provided poor security arrangements for the former prime minister, which led to her assassination.
 
Musharraf ended his self-imposed exile and returned to Pakistan early this year to take part in the elections this past May but was barred from doing so because of pending legal cases. He has been placed under detention in his farm house near the capital city while the courts hear the cases against him.

You May Like

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Garrison Gibson
August 22, 2013 2:04 PM
I now understand what V.O.A. meant. Namely that Mark Siegel was referring to the late Benazir Bhutto. The Obama administration is seems to have a sex change orientation thing that is a little disorienting for traditionalists. One assumes that the elites in firms such as Locke Lord might have gay activist policies to get government work.

by: Garrison Gibson
August 22, 2013 1:59 PM
Not to be biased, yet is mark Siegel a 'her', or is that sloppy writing or a Bradley Manning sort of thing?

"American lobbyist Mark Siegel, a former Bhutto speech writer, accused Musharraf of threatening her in a phone call before she returned to Pakistan from exile in October 2007. Siegel's U.S. law firm Locke Lord declined to comment when asked by VOA for his reaction to the indictment."

by: Ravi from: India
August 20, 2013 3:16 PM
The title "You May Like" is not appropriate when the news reports that follow are mostly about death and destruction. It can "You can also watch or read".................

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More