Musharraf arrested, presented before magistrate

Islamabad: Former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf was today arrested in a case relating to the imposition of emergency rule in 2007 and was presented before a magistrate, becoming the first former army chief to face such action.

Police officials arrested the 69-year-old former military strongman this morning and took him to the court of judicial magistrate Muhammad Abbas Shah.

The police officials informed the magistrate that they did not need physical custody of Musharraf and he could be placed in judicial custody.

However, lawyers for several persons who have filed petitions against Musharraf for imposing emergency in 2007 and detaining over 60 members of the superior judiciary contended that he should be kept in police custody.

They also questioned why Musharraf had not been handcuffed by police after his arrest.

Musharraf's lawyer Qamar Afzal argued that his client should be kept in judicial custody as there were serious threats to his life. The magistrate reserved his verdict in the matter and Musharraf left the court complex after waiting for some time for a decision.

Footage on television showed Musharraf being led into the magistrate's small office by dozens of policemen and paramilitary personnel. Musharraf looked shaken and was wearing a waistcoat over a shalwar-kameez.

Sources told PTI that authorities had asked for Musharraf to be placed in judicial custody as this would allow the administration of Islamabad to declare his farmhouse at Chak Shahzad a 'sub-jail' and detain him there.

Authorities have been focussing on this measure as officials are not keen on holding Musharraf at a jail due to threats to his life.

The arrest came a day after the Islamabad High Court ordered the arrest of Musharraf for not cooperating with police officials investigating a case registered against him for detaining dozens of judges, including Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, during the 2007 emergency.

However, immediately after Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui revoked his pre-arrest bail and ordered police to detain him, Musharraf and his security detail fled from the Islamabad High Court complex and drove to his farmhouse. .