Islamabad: An anti-terrorism court in the Pakistani capital has formally indicted former President Pervez Musharraf over the detention of dozens of judges during the emergency rule he imposed in 2007.
Musharraf, 69, was indicted during a hearing of the case held at his farmhouse in Chak Shahzad yesterday by anti-terrorism court Judge Kausar Abbas Zaidi. He was indicted under provision of the Anti-Terrorism Act and the Pakistan Panel Code.
After the charges against him were read out, Musharraf refused to accept them and pleaded not guilty. He filed an application for his acquittal due to lack of evidence.
The judge then summoned 23 prosecution witnesses for the next hearing on June 21.
Officials said the trial of Musharraf had formally begun with his indictment. The proceedings are being held at Musharraf`s farmhouse, declared a sub-jail by authorities, for security reasons.
The banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan has said it will target Musharraf for ordering operations against militants during his regime.
The case over the detention of the judges is based on an FIR filed against Musharraf in August 2009. The FIR itself is based on a complaint by a lawyer named Chaudhry Muhammad Aslam Ghumman.
Ghumman had asked police to initiate proceedings against Musharraf for detaining over 60 judges, including Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, after imposing emergency on November 3, 2007. The case is one of three against Musharraf in courts within Pakistan.
He has also been charged for the 2007 assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto and the killing of Baloch nationalist leader
Akbar Khan Bugti in a military operation in 2006. The case is being heard by the anti-terrorism court even though Ghumman announced last month that he would not pursue his complaint.
Musharraf returned to Pakistan in March after nearly four years in self-imposed exile to contest the general election. However, he was arrested shortly after his arrival and a court barred him from contesting polls for the rest of his life.