Musharraf arrested over Lal Masjid operation

Musharraf arrested over Lal Masjid operation

Beleaguered former President Pervez Musharraf was today arrested for ordering a crackdown on the radical Lal Masjid, less than 24 hours after his lawyers claimed he could walk out of house arrest after being granted bail in the Akbar Bugti murder case.

"He (Musharraf) has been arrested," said Aasia Ishaque, spokesperson for Musharraf’s All Pakistan Muslim League party. She confirmed that the 70-year-old former military was arrested in the Lal Masjid case.

"The SSP of Islamabad and the chief of Aabpara Police Station went to his house and arrested him," she told PTI.

On September 2, police filed a case against Musharraf over the killing of cleric Abdul Rashid and his mother during the 2007 military operation against extremists holed up in the Lal Masjid.

The operation, ordered by Musharraf, ended with a bloody eight-day siege that killed nearly 100 people, including Pakistani troops.

The case was filed on the directions of Justice Noorul Huque Qureshi of the Islamabad High Court, who was annoyed over the non-compliance of an earlier order.

The court issued the order in response to a petition filed by Haroon Rashid, the son of Abdul Rashid, against Musharraf for his alleged involvement in the killing of the hardline cleric and his mother.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court granted Musharraf bail in the case related to the killing of Baloch nationalist leader Akbar Bugti in a 2006 military operation.

Musharraf's lawyers said this was the last case in which he was still under arrest and he had been granted bail in other cases, including those related to the assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto and the imposition of emergency in 2007.

The former military strongman is currently being held at his farmhouse on the outskirts of Islamabad, guarded by nearly 300 security personnel, including soldiers and snipers.

Musharraf took power in a 1999 coup and ruled as President until he resigned when he was threatened with impeachment in 2008. He then went into self-imposed exile and returned to Pakistan in March in a bid to resurrect his political career.

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