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Pakistan court grants bail for former leader Musharraf

Pakistan's former military ruler, Pervez Musharraf, has been granted bail after spending six months under house arrest. Upon returning from self-imposed exile, Musharraf faced charges relating to his previous rule.

The Islamabad court's decision to grant Musharraf bail on Monday brings him a step closer to endin his six-month stint under house arrest. He has now posted bail in all cases brought against him, including a charge that connected him to the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

"The court has granted him bail," said Afghan Adil, one of Musharraf's lawyers, while speaking with reporters. "Musharraf will not leave the country and will face all the cases."

Bail has been granted in connection with the most recent charges against Musharraf that relate to a 2007 incident in which the former military ruler is alleged to have ordered a raid on Lal Masjid, known as the Red Mosque in English, in which over 100 people were killed.

Musharraf ruled Pakistan from 1999 to 2008, when he was ousted following protests led by the country's judiciary. He subsequently lived in London in self-imposed exile. In April, he returned to his home country to run in national elections, but soon found himself placed under house arrest, where he has remained ever since. He faced threats by the Taliban in Pakistan and is likely to remain well-guarded.

The most prominent charges against him were in connection with Bhutto's assassination, which took place at a political rally in 2007. An anti-terrorism court formally indicted him in her murder in August for not doing enough to protect her.

He also faces charges in the 2007 detention of judges and the death of a Baluch nationalist leader.

Pakistan's new government under Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who was deposed by Musharraf in 1999, intends to try him on treason charges for suspending the country's constitution and imposing emergency rule during his last year in power.

mz/jlw (AFP, Reuters)

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