Musharraf gets bail in mosque raid case

Islamabad, Nov 4 (IANS) A Pakistani court Monday granted bail to former president Pervez Musharraf in the case pertaining to the military raid on the militant-affiliated Islamabad Red Mosque during his rule in 2007, which led to the death of nearly 90 religious students, lawyers said.

Musharraf was formally arrested in the case last month after the son of the deputy of the mosque, Abdul Rashid Ghazi, who was killed in the military operation, filed a case against him.

The former Pakistan president has already got bail in two other cases - the 2007 assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and the murder of senior tribal leader Nawab Akbar Bugti who was killed in 2006 in a military operation.

Bail to Musharraf in the mosque case has possibly paved the way for him to go abroad, Xinhua reported.

However, a Musharraf lawyer told reporters Monday that the former military leader will not leave the country.

Some opposition leaders say that the government and the former president have entered into a secret deal that will allow Musharraf to leave the country. But the government has not confirmed any deal.

Additional Sessions Judge Wajid Ali granted bail to Pervez Musharraf and ordered him to deposit two surety bonds, each of Pakistani Rs.100,000 (around $930), Musharraf's lawyer told reporters after the court's verdict.

The prosecution had accused the former president of ordering the military operation which led to the killing of students and opposed bail to him.

Musharraf's defence lawyer, Ilyas Siddiqi, however told the court that there is no written order to suggest the former military leader had issued any order for the operation.

Nearly 11 security men were also killed during the exchange of fire with the religious students.

Musharraf returned to the country in March after a nearly four-year self exile to take part in elections. However, a court had disqualified him from standing in the May elections.

The former president, who leads the All Pakistan Muslim League, is under detention at his farmhouse in Islamabad. However, his lawyers are now confident that he will soon be a free man.

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