Pak moves Interpol for RCN against Musharraf

Islamabad: Pakistan has sent a formal request to Interpol to issue a Red Corner Notice for former military ruler Pervez Musharraf so that he can be arrested and brought back from self-exile to face trial in connection with the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.

The Federal Investigation Agency on Wednesday sent the request to the Director of Interpol in Pakistan, official sources said today.

FIA Special Prosecutor Mohammad Azhar Chaudhry confirmed to the media that the process to bring 68-year-old Musharraf, currently living outside the country in self-exile, back to Pakistan had begun.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik last week announced that the government would bring Musharraf back to face trial for his alleged failure to provide security to former premier Benazir Bhutto at the time of her assassination in 2007 despite being aware of threats to her life.

Musharraf has been declared a "proclaimed offender" or fugitive by an anti-terrorism court conducting the trial of seven persons accused of involvement in the assassination. The court also directed authorities to seize Musharraf`s assets and to freeze his bank accounts.

Special Prosecutor Chaudhry said an officer of the FIA`s joint investigation team probing the assassination had handed over an application for the Red Corner Notice to Interpol`s representative in Pakistan.

After scrutinising the application, the Interpol representative will forward it to Interpol headquarters in France, he said.

Once the Red Corner Notice is issued, Musharraf can be detained anywhere in the world and brought back to Pakistan so that he can be produced in court, official sources said.

Musharraf has been living in London and Dubai since he left Pakistan in early 2009 after several criminal and civil cases were filed against him across the country.

Meanwhile, a media report today said the British government may not extradite Musharraf even if Pakistan obtains a Red Corner Notice against him as the two countries do not have an extradition treaty.

The News daily, quoting a senior unnamed British diplomatic source said that not only Musharraf but a number of people from various countries living in Britain are wanted by their governments on different counts.

As long as they obey the law in Britain, they are not deported, the source claimed. Musharraf has not sought asylum in Britain but is staying as a guest who respects "British laws faithfully", the daily quoted its sources as saying. "We have no problem with his staying in the United Kingdom," a source said.

Musharraf recently put off his plans to return to Pakistan in March after the government warned that he would be arrested on arrival.

The former dictator had planned to return to the country to lead his All Pakistan Muslim League party in the next general election. He has denied allegations that he was in any way involved in Bhutto`s assassination and said he is willing to face Pakistani courts.