Pakistan to approach Interpol for Musharraf arrest

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Islamabad, Mar 28: An anti-terrorism court in Pakistan asked the country's main investigation agency to contact Interpol to execute arrest warrant on former president Pervez Musharraf in the murder case of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

The court had issued several arrest warrants for Pervez Musharraf, currently living in the UK, while hearing the case of Benazir Bhutto, but he has not yet appeared in the court.

Benazir Bhutto was killed in a suicide attack and gunfire in the city of Rawalpindi in Dec 2007 following her return to Pakistan after years of exile.

Prosecutor of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Chaudhry Zulfikar, told the court that three letters have been sent to the British Home Department to serve the arrest warrant on Musharraf, but the orders were not conveyed to the former military president.

The court ordered the FIA on Saturday to contact the Interpol for Musharraf's arrest and that he must be produced on Apr 2 when the court will resume hearing.

The prosecutors have named Musharraf as an ''accused'' in the case, saying that Musharraf was head of the state when Benazir was assassinated and that his government had not taken enough security measures for Benazir Bhutto.

Musharraf's party says that accusations against the former president are ''politically motivated'' and he could appear in the court if he received formal orders from the courts.

Musharraf said that he intends to return to Pakistan before the next general election in 2013. He has also launched a new party, the All Pakistan Muslim League.

Several charge sheets submitted by the FIA in the anti- terrorism court in Rawalpindi said Musharraf, who was president at the time of the assassination, had refused a request to cooperate in the investigation into Bhutto's death.

The anti-terrorism court is conducting the trial of five terror suspects, including alleged members of the outlawed Tehrik-e- Taliban Pakistan or TTP, who have been charged with planning and facilitating the assassination.

One charge sheet also said that former Rawalpindi police chief Saud Aziz and former superintendent of police Khurram Shahzad, recently arrested by the FIA on charges of negligence in providing security to Bhutto, were acting on the orders of Musharraf.

The charge sheet also included a report on the forensic analysis of one of Benazir Bhutto's BlackBerry mobile phones. Two BlackBerry phones used by Bhutto at the time of her assassination were recently found by staff at her home in Karachi and handed over to the FIA.

A UN Commission which probed Bhutto's assassination had held Musharraf responsible for failing to provide adequate security to the former premier after her return to Pakistan from self-exile in Oct 2007.

PTI (IRNA)

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