A Pakistani court yesterday refused to extend bail for former military ruler Pervez Musharraf in connection with the murder of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, a lawyer said.
It is the second of three cases dating back to his 1999-2008 rule for which he has been denied bail.
He is already under a two-week house arrest at his villa on the edge of Islamabad over his decision to sack judges when he imposed emergency rule in November 2007.
Musharraf, who attended a separate hearing relating to the Bhutto case on Tuesday, did not appear before the court yesterday and neither did his main lawyer.
“The court dismissed General Musharraf’s bail application,” prosecution lawyer Chaudhry Azhar told reporters after the hearing by the Lahore High Court sitting in Rawalpindi, the garrison city twinned to Islamabad.
“Now the FIA (federal investigative agency) should arrest him,” he added.
Musharraf is accused of conspiracy to murder Bhutto, who died in a gun and suicide attack in December 2007.
His arrest and disqualification from contesting elections on May 11 have been a humiliating blow for the former ruler of nuclear-armed Pakistan, who returned home last month promising to “save” the country.
On Tuesday, police said they had recovered a car carrying detonators and explosives on the road leading to Musharraf’s house.
The Pakistani Taliban have threatened to kill Musharraf who escaped three assassination attempts during his rule, but denied anything to do with the car.
Nobody has been convicted or jailed for Bhutto’s assassination on December 27, 2007, in Rawalpindi, despite a long-running court case.
Musharraf’s government blamed Bhutto’s killing on Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud, who denied any involvement and who was killed in a US drone attack in August 2009.
In 2010 a UN report said Bhutto’s death could have been prevented and accused Musharraf’s government of failing to give her adequate protection.