ISLAMABAD -KASWAR KLASRA/ SHAHID RAO - Before Pervez Musharraf could leave for Dubai or Saudi Arabia after the Supreme Court granted him bail in the Akbar Bugti assassination case on Tuesday, Islamabad police have re-arrested the former military ruler over the Lal Masjid case.
A local court might be requested for his remand tomorrow [Friday].
“The former president has been arrested [again] in the Lal Masjid case,” a spokesperson for Islamabad police told The Nation on Thursday.
On September 2, Aabpara police registered an FIR against Musharraf for killing Ghazi Abdur Rashid and his mother in the Lal Masjid operation.
After the judges’ detention, Benazir Bhutto assassination and Akbar Bugti murder cases, it was the fourth case lodged against the former president.
Musharraf was able to secure bail in the Bugti assassination case last Tuesday. Two days later speculations emerged that the former military ruler might leave for Dubai on Thursday [yesterday].
Informed sources confirmed this, saying even things had been finalised to fly Musharraf off the country.
Late in the evening on Thursday, even televisions were reporting that the former president was likely to take shelter in Saudi Arabia, if he got bail in the remaining cases filed against him.
However, when the entire Capital was abuzz over his expected departure, a police team re-arrested him in the Abdul Rashid murder case.
Musharraf had already secured bail in the Benazir Bhutto assassination case and judges’ detention case.
Besides, there have been rumours that Musharraf may be sent in exile in Saudi Arabia, from where he would proceed to Dubai, where his ailing mother is undergoing treatment.
At present, the former military ruler was being held in ‘isolation’ at his luxury villa, confined to two rooms, stripped off his personal staff and barred from meeting his family and supporters, one of his close aides told The Nation.
The authorities had declared the retired general’s plush farmhouse on the edge of Islamabad as ‘sub-jail’, saving him from the life threats by the Taliban and on top of that indignity and risk of going to prison.
Undoubtedly, the former despot must be feeling much comfortable than his civilian rival Nawaz Sharif when he had been humiliated and subjected to torture in Attock Fort soon after the toppling of his government in the coup d’état in October 1999. So, many people here have been accurate to a certain degree when they say, “once a general, always a VIP.”
As for the villa, it was designed by Pakistan’s famous architect Hammad Husain in close consultations with the then first lady Sahiba Musharraf. Built in two years (2006-2008), it reportedly cost the retired general around $2 million. The Mediterranean style luxurious country residence has extensive grounds. The 5-acre farmhouse in Chak Shahzad suburb of the federal capital is almost 9 kilometres from the heart of Islamabad.
It has 15 feet high walls barbed with wires. The four bedroom residence has reportedly two bomb-proof rooms – said to be a work of a US based company. During a visit to this villa in mid 2008, this correspondent was walked through all the rooms, the garden and water-features, which serve to merge the inside and outside into a continuous green space.
Nonetheless, the arrest of Musharraf on Thursday in itself was unexpected.
Meanwhile, a petition has been moved in Islamabad High Court for placing former military ruler Pervez Musharraf on the exit control list to prevent his passage abroad.
The interior secretary has been made respondent in the plea which was moved on Thursday by Haroon Rashid, the complainant in the Ghazi Abdul Rashid murder case.
The petitioner submitted that his father Ghazi Abdul Rasid and his grandmother had been killed in a brutal operation ordered by Musharraf and that a first information report [FIR] had been registered under sections 302 and 109 on order from the high court on his plea against the killings.
As it had been learnt that Musharraf could leave Pakistan any day before Eidul Azha, bringing him back would not be possible, just like Hussain Haqqani could not be in the Memogate case, the petitioner argued.
He added that consequently, not only the report of the commission constituted on the directions of the apex court to probe the Lal Masjid operation would become ineffective but also Musharraf would be able to escape a trial.
The petitioner prayed that the Ministry of Interior be directed to place Musharraf on the exit control list in the interest of justice and fair play.
His counsel, Tariq Asad, told the court that the petitioner had also requested the inspector general of police to expedite investigations, so that the challan might be placed before the court and trial conducted.