Present suspects who tried to kill Musharraf: Pakistan court (Lead)

November 2nd, 2010 - 7:27 pm ICT by IANS  

Pervez Musharraf By Awais Saleem
Islamabad, Nov 2 (IANS) The Supreme Court in Pakistan has directed the authorities concerned to present 11 suspects who were charged with plotting to assassinate then president Pervez Musharraf and have gone missing from police custody.

The accused were taken in custody by the special branch of police. They were facing trial in the anti-terrorist court for trying to assassinate Musharraf in a suicide bombing in Rawalpindi in 2004. The former Pakistani president escaped the assassination bid.

The court granted bail to the accused last year, but they never reached their homes and went missing. It was been reported in the local media that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) had taken these accused in custody for further investigation.

Chief justice of the apex court, Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, passed direction to present the accused and has now given four days to the authorities concerned.

Rawalpindi’s Adiala jail superintendent and deputy superintendent have already been arrested because the accused went missing from their custody.

“The protection of liberty of the citizens is the responsibility of the state and the confidence on the system can only be restored by protecting these rights,” Chaudhry said.

He expressed his dismay that “the report submitted to the court tried to bluff that the accused had been set free”.

“Our purpose is not to jail the officers but to bring the responsible persons to book,” he said, adding that “the officers concerned should refrain from irresponsible statements in this regard”.

The next date of hearing was set for Nov 10.

The apex court in Pakistan has taken suo-moto notice of the case of missing people in Pakistan. Most of them are believed to be in the custody of security agencies for investigation on charges of terrorist activities.

(Awais Saleem can be contacted at ians.pakistan@gmail.com)

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