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Roadside bomb narrowly misses Pakistan's Musharraf

Pakistan’s former military ruler Pervez Musharraf has narrowly survived an apparent assassination attempt. A roadside bomb detonated shortly before his convoy was due to drive through a highway interchange.

Pakistani police said a roadside bomb exploded at the Faizabad interchange on Thursday, shortly before former president Musharraf was due to drive by. Nobody was hurt and his convoy was diverted.

It was the fourth presumed attempt on the life of Musharraf who faces a series of legal cases,

including treason,

since returning from self-imposed exile in March last year.

The first three assassination bids occurred during his term in office from 1999, when he seized office, to 2008 when he was forced to step down as his popularity plummeted.

Senior police official Muhammad Naeem said the four kilogram bomb was planted under a road interchange bridge on Musharraf's intended route between an army hospital in Rawalpindi to his home Islamabad.

Convoy made early departure

“Musharraf was the target and it was a narrow escape,” Naeem said.

The blast ripped a one-meter wide gap in a brick sidewalk.

A Musharraf aide said the former leader had left hospital 20 minutes earlier than scheduled.

Government rejects travel request

On Wednesday, the Pakistani government had rejected a request by Musharraf for permission to travel abroad for treatment and meet his ailing mother in the United Arab Emirates.

The most serious charge of treason was brought formally against Musharraf on Monday in what was seen by Pakistan's

new civilian administration

as a milestone in a country long dominated by the army.

If convicted of treason, he could face the death penalty.

His court appearance on Monday was only the second since trial proceedings began in December. He missed numerous other appearances due to security concerns and went to hospital in January after complaining of chest pains.

ipj/slk (AFP, AP, dpa)

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