Pakistani court extends Musharraf′s bail | Asia| An in-depth look at news from across the continent | DW | 29.03.2013
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Pakistani court extends Musharraf's bail

A court in Karachi has extended Pervez Musharraf's bail in three cases of alleged criminal activity. The former president returned to Pakistan on Sunday after four years in exile, vowing to contest upcoming elections.

Judges extended the bail for former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf's from 10 days - which began on Sunday when he returned to the country - to several weeks. Under the agreement, police cannot arrest Musharraf for the charges which originate from 2006 and 2007.

No comments were immediately available from the former president, who greeted supporters gathered outside of the Sindh High Court in Karachi on Friday following the court's decision.

The first extension gave Musharraf an additional 21 days of bail in two separate criminal cases. He is accused of involvement in the killing of Baluch nationalist leader, Akbar Bugti, who died during a standoff with the Pakistani military in 2006. He has also been charged in connection with the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto by a suicide attacker at a political rally in 2007.

The court allowed him an additional 15 days of bail in the third case, in which he is charged with illegally removing several judges during his term, including Supreme Court justice Iftikhar Chaudhry.

Protester throws shoe at Musharraf

The former president returned to Karachi on Sunday following a self-imposed exile of nearly four years. Soon after his arrival, he announced his intention to play a role in the country's upcoming elections.

Musharraf seized power in 1999 in a military coup. During his time in office, he maintained a strong partnership with the US government in its "war on terror," while also supporting measures to combat insurgencies in his own country. In 2008, the threat of impeachment forced him to relinquish power and eventually leave Pakistan.

Musharraf's return has angered some in Pakistan. A group of lawyers led a protest outside of the courthouse in Karachi on Friday as Musharraf made his way into the building, chanting "he's a dictator and he should be hanged."

One of the lawyers then hurled a shoe at Musharraf - a gesture considered particularly insulting in the Muslim world - barely missing him.

It was unclear whether security officials had detained the shoe thrower.

Suicide bombing kills several

In an unrelated incident, a suicide bombing claimed at least six lives in Peshawar on Friday. The attacker reportedly targeted Frontier Constabulary chief Abdul Majeed Marwat, according to police officials.

While the senior police officer escaped relatively unscathed, several security officials and civilians died in the attack. Officials at Lady Reading Hospital said that two of the civilian victims were women. They also reported that at least 10 people had been injured in the bombing.

Eyewitness accounts differed on the details of how the bombing occurred. Witnesses at the scene told the news agency AFP that the perpetrator was on foot when he detonated explosives as Marwat's convoy passed the center of Peshawar, the capital city of Pakistan's northwest province, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

A senior police officer told the DPA news agency that the suicide bomber rode toward the convoy on a bike.

No group claimed responsibility for the attack.

Officials fear that a recent increase in violence could interfere with an upcoming vote. General elections are scheduled for early May, in what could become the first democratic transition of power in Pakistan. The country's coalition government recently became the first in the country's history to complete a full five-year term.

kms/pfd (AFP, AP, dpa)