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Pakistani Court Orders Arrest Of Musharraf

Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf is escorted by security personnel as he leaves the Pindi High Court after his hearing in Rawalpindi on April 17.
A court in Pakistan has asked the police chief of the capital Islamabad to explain how the country's former military ruler Pervez Musharraf evaded arrest orders on April 18

Earlier in the day, the Islamabad High Court ordered the arrest of the 69-year-old retired general. Police were deployed in the court, but Musharraf's security team rushed him to his car before he could be detained.

He went to his heavily-guarded farmhouse on the edge of Islamabad.

The High Court ordered Musharraf's arrest after revoking his bail in a case he is facing for his decision to dismiss senior judges, including the Supreme Court's chief justice, when he imposed emergency rule in 2007.

ALSO READ: Musharraf's Triumphant Return Goes Awry

Ahmed Raza Kasuri, a lawyer for Musharraf, criticized the arrest order.

"Today's decision is unique and a first in Pakistani history where a bail was not granted in a bailable offense," he said. "Moreover, in cases like these, the judge either grants bail or refuses it but never passes an order to arrest the accused."

On April 18, Musharraf's lawyers failed to petition the country's Supreme Court for bail after his arrest order.

Mohammad Amjad, Musharraf's senior aide, told journalists that the former military leader's political allies and lawyers are carefully reviewing his legal situation and future political strategy.

"The key points under discussion are the developments today -- what is likely to unfold in the next hours and days," he said. "We will also spell out our future course. We will spread our message to the people through the media."

WHY NOW? Musharraf's Return To Pakistan

Musharraf's legal problems have mounted since he returned to Pakistan last month -- after more than four years of self-imposed exile -- to run in the May 11 general elections.

But legal challenges to his candidacy have so far thwarted his political designs. Election tribunals across the country barred him from running in his chosen constituencies in the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, Islamabad, the southern seaport city of Karachi, and the Kasur district of the eastern Punjab Province.

Election officials and judges opposing his nomination have cited ongoing court cases against Musharraf.

Before returning, Musharraf was also granted bail in cases related to the 2007 killings of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and a Balochi rebel leader in 2006.

With reporting by AP, AFP, Reuters, and "Dawn"
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