New charges laid against Pakistan ex-leader Musharraf

In this photograph taken on April 20, 2013, former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf (C) is escorted by soldiers as he arrives at an anti-terrorism court in Islamabad. Mr Musharraf returned to Pakistan from self-imposed exile earlier this year

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New murder charges have been registered against Pakistan's former military ruler Pervez Musharraf, officials say.

Mr Musharraf, who is currently under house arrest, already faces murder charges over the deaths of Benazir Bhutto and a Baloch tribal leader.

He also faces charges over his attempt to sack Pakistan's higher judiciary in 2007 and the government has said it will try him for treason.

Mr Musharraf says that all the cases against him are politically motivated.

The latest charge relates to the death of radical cleric Abdul Rashid Ghazi, during the siege of Islamabad's Red Mosque in 2007.

More than 100 people were killed when Pakistani troops stormed the mosque after a stand-off between troops and hardline Islamists barricaded inside failed.

Formal charges

Analysts say that the storming of the mosque angered hardliners and provoked Taliban militants to launch a bloody campaign of suicide bombings and other attacks on government and security forces.

"The High Court ordered Islamabad police to register murder charges against Musharraf on a petition filed by the son of Rashid Ghazi," Tariq Asad, a lawyer who represented Mr Ghazi, told AFP news agency.

Last month Mr Musharraf was formally charged in connection with the 2007 assassination of opposition leader and former PM Benazir Bhutto.

It was the first time a current or ex-army chief has been charged with a crime in Pakistan. He denied all the charges set out against him.

In addition:

  • He faces charges over the killing of Baloch tribal leader Nawab Akbar Bugti, in a military operation in 2006
  • There is a case against him relating to his attempt to sack the entire higher judiciary in November 2007
  • The government has said it intends to try him for treason for suspending the constitution and imposing emergency rule in 2007.

The former military ruler returned to Pakistan from self-imposed exile earlier this year and is currently under house arrest.

He came to power in 1999 when he ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a bloodless coup. He ruled the country for nine years before being voted out and then he left Pakistan to live in self-imposed exile in Dubai and London.

Upon his return he hoped that he could lead his party into elections, but was disqualified from standing and found himself fighting an array of charges relating to his time in power.

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