Musharraf arrested, presented before magistrate

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ISLAMABAD, April 19, 2013

In a first for Pakistan, former military dictator Pervez Musharraf was arrested early on Friday morning; 24 hours after the Islamabad High Court revoked his bail in the judges detention case. Given the threats to his life, he will be kept under house arrest in his farmhouse which has been turned into a sub-jail.

Gen. (retd) Musharraf was produced before a judicial magistrate this morning and granted two days remand. He was formally arrested at his farmhouse on the outskirts of the federal capital shortly before 8 a.m. and brought to the court premises by the Islamabad Police.

Dressed in a salwar kameez, the former army chief walked into the court room amid tight security. His face bore no expression as he walked the short pathway from the parking lot to the court room and returned the same way. In a fleeting interaction with a television channel, Gen. Musharraf was quoted as saying: “I respect the law. I came to Pakistan on my own. I will face the consequences.”

Prior to his arrest, the Islamabad Police – which came in for sharp criticism on Thursday for allowing Gen. Musharraf to flee the court room – had written to the Chief Commissioner of Islamabad for declaring his residence a sub-jail.

Meanwhile, the Islamabad High Court began hearing the “escape case” as Thursday’s arrest order took a grim view of the failure of the police to imprison Gen. Musharraf. Billing his escape as another offence, the court had asked the Inspector General of Islamabad Capital Territory to submit a report about the steps taken to arrest Gen. Musharraf and action taken against police officials caught napping on Thursday.

This is the first time a military dictator has had to face the consequences of his actions. Civilian presidents and prime ministers have met with this fate more than once in the past. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif have all been imprisoned and spent time in jail.

(Anita Joshua |Hindu)

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