Court directs Musharraf to cooperate in Bhutto murder probe

Islamabad:  A Pakistani court on Tuesday directed former military ruler Pervez Musharraf to cooperate with investigators probing the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.
The court, which is conducting hearings behind closed doors for security reasons, had declared Musharraf a “proclaimed offender” or fugitive and frozen his assets in 2011 after he failed to cooperate with sleuths investigating the assassination. The former army chief’s lawyer said these orders should be withdrawn as he was now appearing in the court.

Musharraf, 69, was accused of providing inadequate security to Bhutto after she returned to Pakistan from self-exile in late 2007. She was assassinated during a political rally in Rawalpindi on December 27, 2007. The judge directed Musharraf to cooperate with investigators and adjourned the case till May 3.

Chief prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali of the Federal Investigation Agency told reporters that Musharraf had not cooperated with investigators. “While he was on bail for a month, he did not join the investigation. Today was the first time he appeared in the court,” he said.
In a separate development, the Supreme Court resumed hearing five identical petitions seeking Musharraf’s trial for treason for imposing emergency rule in 2007. Ahmad Raza Kasuri, the head of Musharraf’s legal team, told the Apex Court that his client had no faith in the bench hearing the treason case. “My client has no faith in the bench hearing the case,” Kasuri said.

The Supreme Court should first address the issue of forming a larger bench or handing over the case to the full court. Ibrahim Satti, another of Musharraf’s lawyers, said his client’s name should be removed from the Exit Control List, which has the names of people barred from travelling out of Pakistan.

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