Former Pakistani military ruler Pervez Musharraf was today ordered by an anti-terrorism court to appear before it on April 21 in a case relating to the murder of Baloch nationalist leader Akbar Bugti.
The court in Quetta directed 70-year-old Musharraf to appear before it, failing which his bail would be canceled. "The court will issue arrest warrants against him if he fails to appear before it," Sohail Rajput, the counsel of Bugti's son Jamil, told reporters quoting the remarks the judge made during the hearing.
Meanwhile, former federal interior minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao and former Balochistan home minister Mir Shoaib Nowsherwani appeared before the court in connection with the case. The court ordered both former ministers to reappear before it on April 21.
Jamil Akbar Bugti, the son of Akbar Bugti, had named Musharraf, former prime minister Shaukat Aziz and other high-ups in the murder of his father. The Balochistan High Court has already issued arrest warrants for the accused persons.
Bugti was killed in a cave on August 26, 2006, during a military crackdown ordered by Musharraf who was the president and army chief at the time. Bugti had led an armed campaign to press for provincial autonomy and a greater share of profits in Balochistan's natural resources. The death of the Baloch chieftain sparked angry protests in the country.
Since Musharraf returned to Pakistan from self-exile in March last year, he has faced prosecution in four major cases, including one in which he has been indicted on high treason charges and another for his alleged involvement in the murder of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in 2007. Musharraf was indicted on March 31 in the treason trial for suspending, subverting and abrogating the Constitution, imposing an emergency in the country in November 2007 and detaining judges of the superior courts.
The former president, who is the first military ruler in Pakistan's history to be tried in court, has rejected all the charges leveled against him.
Musharraf is currently staying at his sprawling Chak Shehzad farmhouse on the outskirts of the city, where he was shifted to from the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology in Rawalpindi. His farmhouse has been declared a "satellite facility of the military hospital".