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Pakistani court extends bail for Musharraf, bars him from going abroad

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, March 30, IRNA -- A court in Pakistan on Friday extended for three more weeks protective bail to former president, Pervez Musharraf, who faces arrest in three high profile cases.

The court in Karachi extended Musharraf's bail in three cases - his government's failure to provide security to former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, who was killed in 2007, the killing of Baloch leader Akbar Bugti in a military operation in 2006 and illegal confinement' of 62 judges after he had declared a state of emergency in the country in 2007.

The Sindh High Court had granted protective bail for 10 days to Gen Musharraf on March 22 in three cases which also include the 2007 assassination of former PM Benazir Bhutto.

During the hearing, government's lawyers opposed the bail for Musharraf and called for cancellation of the bail.

Prosecutor, Shadat Awan, argued that Musharraf was proclaimed offender and he should be denied bail and arrested.

However, the defence lawyers requested for the bail, arguing that the former president had volunteered to appear before the court.

The defence lawyer, Abdul Qadir Haliputa, also requested the court to extend his bail for two months as he is contesting elections on May 11. The judges accepted the plea and granted only a 21-day extension.

The court however barred Musharraf from leaving the country and ruled that he would not go abroad without the court's permission.

Musharraf expressed satisfaction at the court's verdict shortly after the judge granted extension in a packed court room.

Earlier the former President arrived in the court in tight security and with heavily armed guards.

A group of lawyers raised slogans against Musharraf as he arrived in the court and one lawyer also threw shoe at him, which did not hit him. The lawyers protested against Musharraf for sacking many top judges during his rule.

Several Musharraf supporters also raised slogans in his favor.

Musharraf, 70, who had been living in exile in Britain and the United Arab Emirates since he resigned as president in August 2008, returned to Pakistan on March 24.

Several courts had issued arrest warrants for Musharraf in several cases while he was living in exile.

Musharraf, who ruled Pakistan from 1999 to 2008 after seizing power in a bloodless coup in 1999, has denied all charges, terming them as politically-motivated.

Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 1079046

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