Islamabad: A shoe was hurled at Pakistan former president Pervez Musharraf outside the Sindh High Court in Karachi on Friday. The shoe, which was thrown at Musharraf by a lawyer, missed its target and the lawyer was not detained as no charges were filed against him.
Musharraf, who seized power in a military coup in 1999 but was forced to step down nearly a decade later, is disliked by many lawyers throughout Pakistan because of his decision to suspend the chief justice of the Supreme Court while he was in office. The lawyer tossed his shoe at Musharraf as the former military strongman was walking down a hallway in the court building in the city of Karachi surrounded by a mob of security, supporters and journalists, said police official Nasir Aftab.
This was, however, not the first time that a shoe was thrown at Musharraf. In 2011, a man tried to hurl his shoe at him when he was addressing a gathering in Britain.
Meanwhile, the court granted Musharraf an extension of pre-emptive bail in three cases against him, meaning he cannot be immediately arrested. Two of the cases against Musharraf are - the 2007 assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and the killing of Akbar Bugti, a Baluch nationalist leader who died in August 2006 after a standoff with the Pakistani military. He was granted an extension of 21 days in these two cases.
In the third case, in which he is accused of illegally removing a number of judges at the time, including the Supreme Court chief justice, he was granted a 15-day extension. The protective bail granted to Musharraf in this case was expiring on Friday and therefore he was required to be present in the court. Musharraf was also restricted from leaving the country during the period that his bail was extended, Pakistani state TV reported.
Musharraf returned from exile on March 24, seeking a possible political comeback despite the legal charges against him and death threats from Taliban militants. But he was only met by a couple thousand reporters when his flight from Dubai landed in Karachi, and analysts have said they don't expect his party to attract much support in parliamentary elections scheduled for May 11.
Musharraf seized power in 1999 when he was serving as Pakistan's army chief. He was forced to step down in 2008 and eventually left the country amid discontent with his rule and threats of impeachment by the country's main political parties. His decision to suspend the Supreme Court chief justice, Iftikhar Chaudhry, played a key role in reducing his popularity. Chaudhry has since been reinstated.
In Karachi, a group of lawyers protested outside the Sindh High Court on Friday as Musharraf entered. They chanted slogans against the former military strongman and jostled with his supporters.
(With additional information from AP)