ISLAMABAD: Former president, Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf, was arrested from his farmhouse on Friday morning after a night of negotiations between his “personal security personnel” and representatives of the law enforcing agencies. He, however, was not handcuffed and was produced before Judicial Magistrate Muhammad Abbas, who granted him two-day transit remand after a brief hearing.
He was detained in the Police Club Rest House at the Police Headquarters Islamabad, which was declared a police station, sources told The News.A team, headed by SSP Islamabad Yasin Farooq, executed the order of the Islamabad High Court (IHC), and took him immediately to the district courts, F-8 Markaz, before the magistrate.
The police, on court orders, added Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) in the FIR No. 131, that previously carried Section 344 of the Pakistan PenalCode (PPC). It was lodged with the Secretariat police station on August 11, 2009, on the complaint of Chaudhary Mohammad Aslam Ghuman, a lawyer of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
A six-member team comprising SP (Rural Zone) Sardar Sadaqat Ali Khan, ASP (Shahzad Town Circle) Shakar Ahmad Shahid, DSP (Secretariat Circle) Idrees Rathore, Secretariat Police SHO Qaisar Niaz Gilani and Sub Inspector (SI) Sultan Mehmood went to the farmhouse in the morning and Police Club Rest House in the evening to question Musharraf, the sources said.
“The administration, in the first phase, decided to keep the accused in his farmhouse due to severe threats to his life from different terrorist outfits, but later shifted him to the rest house of the Police Club located in the jurisdiction of Police Headquarters, H-11/3, Islamabad,” the sources said.
Tight security has been provided to the former president and heavy contingents of Rangers and police commandos have been deployed in and around the Police Headquarters. A detailed report was submitted on Thursday by the police intelligence agency, the Special Branch, to the Ministry of Interior about the threats Musharraf is facing from terrorist organisations.
The Special Branch of the Islamabad police, in its report, said that the former president was facing multiple threats from various terrorist outfits including the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan and the Ghazi Force. It suggested tight security for the former president. It expressed concern regarding his protection in jails, saying, “Former President Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf is not even safe in jail and he could be attacked in the jail jurisdiction as many terrorists are undergoing their terms in different jails.”
The magistrate’s order stated that the police showed Musharraf’s arrest on April 18 and requested two weeks’ judicial remand. It said the police should abide by the IHC order and include Section 7 of ATA in the FIR.
Musharraf’s lawyer pleaded with the judicial magistrate that his client was facing threats to his life. On the occasion, lawyers of the Islamabad Bar Association chanted slogans against the former president.
Musharraf waited in the court premises in his car and returned to his Chak Shahzad farmhouse after the hearing. Later, he was shifted to the Police Headquarters because according to the law, an accused on transit remand must be kept in a police station. Musharraf is expected to remain at the police headquarters until he is presented before the Anti-Terrorism Court.
Talking to media persons, Musharraf said he returned to Pakistan out of his own will and respect of the courts. He expressed his determination to face the consequences.
The Interior Ministry sources said the secretary interior has not yet taken any initiative to follow the order of the IHC. They indicated that according to the law, an inquiry could be started before taking any action against the IGP Islamabad.
The sources, quoting a report, said that SSP Islamabad was present at the IHC premises and could be held responsible for Musharraf’s escape. They said the SSP was the officer with the authority to order his force to arrest the accused after dismissal of his bail from the IHC.