Bhutto case: Court gives last chance to FIA to arrest Musharraf

Prosecutors have a "last chance" to arrest within two weeks Pervez Musharraf.

Islamabad: A Pakistani anti-terrorism court has given prosecutors a "last chance" to arrest within two weeks ex-president Pervez Musharraf for failing to cooperate with investigators probing the 2007 assassination of former
premier Benazir Bhutto.

After prosecutors again failed to produce the former military ruler in court, Judge Rana Nisar Ahmed said during proceedings yesterday that he was giving a last chance to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to serve within two weeks the arrest warrant that the court had issued in February for
Musharraf, who had been living in self-exile in Britain since 2009.

The judge expressed his indignation at the non-implementation of the arrest warrant. He said the FIA should complete its task immediately and it should not use delaying tactics.

The judge subsequently adjourned proceedings in the case related to the assassination of Bhutto till May 21.

Prosecutors have repeatedly sought more time from the anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi to serve the arrest warrant issued in February.

Pakistani authorities contacted their counterparts in the UK, but British officials have said they cannot help in the matter as the two countries do not have an extradition treaty.

Five men accused of involvement in the assassination of Bhutto and two senior police officers charged with negligence in protecting the former Premier were present in court during yesterday’s proceedings conducted in Adiala Jail for security reasons.

When the court was informed by prosecutors that they had not been able to serve the arrest warrant for Musharraf, the judge expressed his indignation and summoned FIA director general Malik Iqbal and said the agency`s performance was not satisfactory.

Iqbal appeared in court and said the FIA should be given a last chance to serve the warrant as the Interior and Foreign Ministries were taking up the matter with British authorities.

He assured the judge that the FIA would implement the arrest warrant.

The court rejected an application filed by the FIA to declare Musharraf a "proclaimed offender" or fugitive and to impound all his movable and immovable property.


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