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Pakistan: Pervez Musharraf back at farmhouse after court sentence

Press Trust of India
Apr 21, 2013 at 04:25am IST

Islamabad: Former Pakistani military ruler Pervez Musharraf returned to his sprawling farmhouse which has been declared a sub-jail and where he was ordered to serve 14 days in judicial custody by an anti-terrorism court, in Islamabad on Saturday. He had spent the night in detention at police headquarters in Islamabad and returned there after his court appearance.

Later in the afternoon, Musharraf was taken back to his farmhouse guarded by armed security personnel. Live television footage showed Musharraf arriving at the heavily-guarded farmhouse. Earlier on Saturday, 69-year-old Musharraf was produced before Judge Kausar Abbas Zaidi of the anti-terrorism court amid chaotic scenes with lawyers raising slogans against the former President and scuffling with his supporters. A grim-looking Musharraf walked the short distance from his SUV to the court, surrounded by his bodyguards and dozens of security personnel.

He waved and saluted to his followers before entering the courtroom on the first floor of the building. No one was allowed to come close to him. Musharraf waved to his followers again as he left the court. The Judge remanded him to judicial custody till May 4, 2013, a day after his arrest for treason for detaining over 60 judges after declaring emergency in 2007. A three-member Supreme Court bench has also been constituted to hear petitions seeking directions for initiating high treason trial against Musharraf for subverting the constitution and imposing emergency.

Pakistan: Musharraf back at farmhouse after court sentence

Judge remanded Musharraf to judicial custody till May 4 a day after his arrest for treason for detaining over 60 judges after declaring emergency in 2007.

Zaidi briefly reserved his judgment before announcing his decision. He directed authorities to produce Musharraf in court again on May 4. During the hearing held at the court complex in Sector F-8 in the heart of Islamabad, Musharraf's lawyer Qamar Afzal told the judge that he was cooperating with police officials investigating the detention of judges during emergency. Afzal opposed any move to remand Musharraf to police custody, citing security concerns.

He further said Musharraf could approach the SupremeCourt to appeal against the revocation of his bail by theIslamabad High Court.

Ashraf Gujjar, the counsel for those who filed petitions against Musharraf, contended he should be remanded to police custody as a fresh investigation would have to be conducted against the former President regarding the imposition of emergency. Musharraf's five-acre palatial farmhouse with high walls, swimming pool and guard towers, was declared a sub-jail. Meanwhile, Pakistan's Supreme Court today constituted a three-member bench to hear petitions seeking directions for initiating high treason trial against Musharraf for subverting the Constitution and imposing emergency in 2007.

Justice Jawwad S Khawaja will head the bench that will include two other members, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain and Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, a Supreme Court statement said. The bench will hear petitions in the case on Monday. Earlier, Musharraf arrived at the court complex in a motorcade of about 14 vehicles shortly after 10 am. He had to wait in his white SUV in the parking lot for over half an hour as security forces pushed back a large number of lawyers who had gathered to protest against the former army chief.

Meanwhile, an assistant jail superintendent and some policemen will be posted at Musharraf's residence so that they can keep an eye on him and monitor his visitors, sources said. Musharraf will not be allowed out of the farmhouse. Visitors will be allowed to see Musharraf at specified times and only after they have been vetted by prison officials, the sources said. While being held at the farmhouse, Musharraf will be allowed to retain the bodyguards provided to him by the army, sources said.

On Friday, Musharraf became the first former Pakistan Army chief to be arrested and presented before a judge. The arrest came a day after Musharraf fled from the Islamabad High Court when a judge revoked his bail and directed police to detain him for a case related to the sacking of judges during the emergency. After being sent on transit remand by a judicial magistrate yesterday, Musharraf spent the night at the officers' mess in the Islamabad Police headquarters. Under Pakistani rules, a person on transit remand must be held at a police station.

As officials were concerned about Musharraf's security, the police headquarters was declared a "temporary police station". A notification was specially issued for setting up of the anti-terrorism court in Islamabad as the federal capital does not have such courts. The nearest anti-terrorism courts are in

Rawalpindi. In a separate incident, early this morning, a 15-foot section of the wall around Musharraf's farmhouse collapsed. A group of about 10 labourers were called in to immediately repair the wall.

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