Pak: Musharraf questioned, his farmhouse declared sub-jail
Officials arrested the 69-year-old former military ruler at his farmhouse on Friday morning.
Islamabad: A police team on Friday visited former President Pervez Musharraf's farmhouse, declared a "sub-jail" by authorities, and questioned him about the detention of more than 60 judges during the emergency of 2007. The five-member police team led by SP Sardar Sadaqat Ali Khan visited Musharraf's farmhouse at Chak Shahzad on the outskirts of Islamabad at 11 am.
The team recorded Musharraf's statement and his response to charges levelled against him in the case that led to his arrest on Friday morning. Officials arrested the 69-year-old former military ruler at his farmhouse on Friday morning, a day after Musharraf fled from the Islamabad High Court when a judge revoked his bail and directed police to detain him.
Following his arrest, Musharraf was produced before a judicial magistrate who remanded him to custody for two days. The magistrate also directed police to produce Musharraf in an anti-terrorism court as the Islamabad High Court had ruled that he should be charged under the Anti-Terrorism Act for detaining judges during the 2007 emergency.
Caretaker Interior Minister Malik Habib Khan confirmed that Musharraf had been arrested and was in the custody of authorities. Speaking in the Senate or upper house of parliament, Khan said Musharraf's residence had been declared a "sub-jail". In a related development, the Law Ministry issued a notification for setting up an anti-terrorism court in Islamabad.
District and sessions judge Kausar Abbas Zaidi was given additional charge of this court, officials told the media. It is expected that the new anti-terrorism court will handle Musharraf s case. The federal capital does not have any anti-terrorism courts and all terrorism cases are usually referred to courts in Rawalpindi.
However, Musharraf described the allegations against him as "politically motivated" and said he would fight them in court. In a message posted on his Facebook page, he said the High Court's order for his arrest was "unwarranted". "The allegations levelled against me in the detention of judges case could not be further from the truth and were filed against me by an unrelated individual eight months after the alleged act; not even one of the alleged aggrieved judges is the petitioner. These allegations are politically motivated and I will fight them in the trial court, where the truth will eventually prevail," Musharraf said.
Musharraf's All Pakistan Muslim League party too sought to put a positive spin on Friday's dramatic developments and claimed the former army chief had "surrendered" to police. APML spokesman Muhammad Amjad claimed Musharraf had "presented himself to the magistrate after the Islamabad High Court's order".
"Musharraf will cooperate with the police team probing the charges against him and give his reply to the fresh charge under the Anti-Terrorism Act," Amjad told reporters. In another significant development, members of the Senate demanded the trial of Musharraf on a charge of "high treason".
The Senate unanimously adopted a resolution that called on the government to put Musharraf on trial. PML-N leader Ishaq Dar moved the resolution, which was supported by Pakistan People's Party Senators Raza Rabbani and Farhatullah Babar. "This House calls upon the government to arrest Pervez Musharraf and try him under Article 6 of the Constitution on charges of high treason," the resolution said. The resolution further demanded that the government remove Musharraf's portraits from all public buildings. The Senate also condemned Musharraf's escape from court after the cancellation of his bail.
Later, speaking to the media, Dar and Rabbani said members of the Senate want a special session to be convened so that they could monitor the action being taken against Musharraf. Rabbani said the Senators were not satisfied by the caretaker Interior Minister s statement on the action taken so far by the government.
They said if civilian leaders could be arrested and presented in court, no preferential treatment should be given to a dictator who had derailed democracy and subverted the Constitution.