Pakistan’s government will assist courts seeking to implement an arrest warrant for former military leader General Pervez Musharraf, the Information and Broadcasting Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan said.
Any court directions will be followed and all possible cooperation will be provided, the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan cited the minister as saying yesterday in the capital, Islamabad. The government will contact Interpol, the international police organization, requesting Musharraf be detained if a court order is issued, according to a report from the Associated Press.
A Pakistani trial court yesterday issued an arrest warrant for Musharraf over allegations he played a role in the 2007 assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, the AP reported, citing prosecutors. Musharraf hasn’t been charged in the case, AP said.
The former military leader, who came to power after a bloodless coup in 1999 and became a U.S. ally in the fight against terrorism, stepped down as president in 2008 after the Pakistani Parliament threatened to bring impeachment charges against him, alleging the illegal seizure of power and economic mismanagement. He left Pakistan after resigning and has lived in London, AP said.
Musharraf, 67, has no plans to go to Pakistan, AP cited Fawad Chaudri, his spokesman, as saying in London yesterday. The former president considers the accusations to be “absurd and ridiculous,” Chaudri said, according to AP.
Bhutto was killed in a gun and suicide bomb attack at a rally in Rawalpindi on Dec. 27, 2007. The arrest warrant for Musharraf stems from a case against two security officials accused of not adequately protecting Bhutto, AP said.
An investigation team found Musharraf to be involved in the conspiracy to kill Bhutto, AP cited Zulfikar Ali Chaudry, the lead prosecutor, as saying. Musharraf has denied any role in the assassination.
A United Nations report, issued last year, said Bhutto’s assassination may have been prevented had security forces taken proper steps after death threats were made against her.
Musharraf’s administration said former Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud ordered Bhutto’s murder after she criticized the Taliban for terrorist attacks in Pakistan and announced she would help the U.S. eliminate the group.
Musharraf last year started a political party, the All Pakistan Muslim League, and said he planned to contest the next elections scheduled for 2013.
Pakistani police in August 2010 issued charges against Musharraf for unlawfully keeping top judges under house arrest in 2007, when he imposed emergency rule in the country.
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