TEHRAN, YJC. Former president Pervez Musharraf is set to arrive in Karachi on March 17, to contest the upcoming general elections, a top leader of his party told The Express Tribune on Tuesday.
The former military ruler, who has been in self-imposed exile for around five years, is currently facing arrest warrants in the murder cases of two heavyweight politicians – former premier Benazir Bhutto and Baloch tribal chieftain Akbar Bugti.
However, Musharraf’s political party, the All Pakistan Muslim League (AMPL), has engaged the services of jurist Sharifuddin Pirzada, known to have assisted former military rulers, in order to obtain bail before his arrival and provide him legal cover.
"All arrangements have been made in this regard. We booked a flight of Pakistan International Airlines for the purpose,” a key aide of Musharraf said, adding that around 100 media personnel and party representatives would accompany the former ruler on his journey from Dubai to Karachi.
Legal teams have already been formed to file appeals in the cases before the courts to get bail for Musharraf. In this regard, Supreme Court Bar Association Vice President Abdullah Khan Kakar will file a petition before the Balochistan High Court for bail before arrival in the Akbar Bugti murder case within a week.
Similarly, a team under the supervision of senior party member Ahmad Raza Kasuri, will file an application before the Lahore High Court to get bail before arrival for Musharraf in the Benazir Bhutto assassination case. Kasuri, when contacted, confirmed the development and said that all the cases were nothing but a ‘cock-and-bull story’.
Musharraf was at the helm of affairs when Bugti was slain during a military operation in 2006, following which the law and order situation in the restive province deteriorated.
Barely a year after Bugti’s death, twice elected prime minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in the garrison city of Rawalpindi. During the trial of her murder case in 2011, a Rawalpindi Anti Terrorism Court (ATC) declared Musharraf a proclaimed offender. Resultantly, his bank accounts were frozen and property attached on the court’s orders.
Recently, a commission investigating the Lal Masjid incident issued a notice to Musharraf asking him to appear before it. However, he refused to abide by the notice.
"We respect the courts and have decided to approach them to become part of the legal process,” said Kasuri, who was confident that they would get relief within two hearings since the cases he said are based on ‘false basis’.
A party representative told The Express Tribune that ‘Pirzada sahib’ advised them to rely on two Sindh High Court’s judgments on matters related to bail before arrival while defending Musharraf in the courts.
Responding to a question, Kasuri said that bail on arrival is the only option when the accused person is out of the country, while bail before arrest is the only viable option when the accused person is not able to appear before court.
After toppling the Nawaz Sharif-led government in 1999, Musharraf was elected the president of Pakistan in an army uniform, and stepped down from office in 2008. Since then, Musharraf has been in a self-imposed exile and the trial of cases, in which he stands accused, are being conducted in several courts of the country.