Ex-President Pervez Musharraf today failed to appear before a Pakistani anti- terrorism court conducting the trial of suspects charged with involvement in the 2007 assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto and was subsequently summoned for the next hearing on April 23.
During proceedings held behind closed doors at Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi,Judge Chaudhry Habib-ur-Rehman summoned all the accused,including former military ruler Musharraf,for the next hearing.
Musharraf was summoned twice by the court but he failed to appear for today’s hearing. The same court had earlier declared Musharraf a “proclaimed offender” or fugitive and issued an arrest warrant for him after he failed to cooperate with investigators probing the assassination.
Musharraf has also been accused of failing to provide adequate security to Bhutto when she returned to Pakistan from self-exile in 2007. After issuing the summons to the accused,the judge adjourned the case till April 23.
Bhutto was assassinated in a gun-and-bomb attack outside Rawalpindi’s Liaquat Bagh ground shortly after addressing an election rally on December 27,2007.
The anti-terrorism court had indicted Musharraf in the case in February 2011 and he was declared a fugitive in August the same year. The court also directed authorities to attach his properties and to freeze his bank accounts.
Musharraf returned to the country last month after nearly four years in self-exile to lead his All Pakistan Muslim League party in the May 11 general election.