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April 21st, 2013

Pakistan judge remands Musharraf to custody

AGENCY
ISLAMABAD: A Pakistani court remanded former president Pervez Musharraf to custody for two weeks on Saturday as judges pushed ahead with plans to put the former President on trial for a crackdown on the judiciary during his time in office.
Hundreds of lawyers jeered at Musharraf and scuffled with his supporters as he appeared at the Islamabad court a day after police arrested him at his home — a breach with an unwritten rule in Pakistan that ex-generals are above the  law.
The judge ruled that he be detained until his next Courtappearance on 4th May. Musharraf’s spokesman said authorities had decided that he would be placed under house arrest at his farmhouse residence on the edge of Islamabad.
“The government has declared Musharraf’s farmhouse as the jail, and he will be moved there from police headquarters,” said spokesman Mohammad Amjad.
Musharraf’s appearance sparked chaotic scenes in the court complex as police formed a human chain to prevent protesting lawyers — who chanted “Down with Musharraf” — from getting closer to the former president.
Musharraf left the court after his brief appearance and returned to police headquarters, where he has been detained in a police guest house.
Musharraf is facing allegations that he overstepped his powers in a showdown with the judiciary in 2007 when he sacked the chief justice and placed judges under house arrest.
Musharraf’s moves against the judiciary earned him widespread scorn among an increasingly activist cadre of lawyers and judges, who have themselves been accused of overstepping the normal limits of judicial authority in their confrontations with the civilian government of President Asif Ali Zardari.
Musharraf’s office issued a statement late on Friday saying the allegations were baseless and politically  motivated.
Signaling the seriousness with which they view the case, judges have ruled that Musharraf must face trial in an anti-terrorism court, since detaining judges could be considered an attack on the state.

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