Islamabad, March 22 (IANS) A court in Pakistan Friday granted protective bail to former president Pervez Musharraf who faces arrest in the country, just two days ahead of his expected return to Pakistan after nearly five years in self exile, a media report said.
Musharraf, 70, has been living in exile in Britain and the United Arab Emirates since he resigned as the president in August 2008. He had earlier announced that he will return to his country March 24.
An anti-terrorism court had issued an arrest warrant in 2011 for Musharraf in connection with the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.
In October 2012, a warrant was also issued for his arrest over the killing of Baloch leader Akbar Bugti in a military operation in August 2006.
Musharraf has denied all charges and will defend himself in court after his return to Pakistan.
Musharraf had approached the Sindh High Court in Karachi. On Friday, judges granted him protective bail, his defence lawyer Ahmad Raza Kasuri was quoted as saying by Xinhua.
The court Friday directed the former president to submit bail money amounting to Rs.100,000 in each case.
The 14-day protective bail was granted in response to a constitutional petition submitted in the court by Musharraf’s daughter Ayla Raza Musharraf on behalf of her father.
The petition prayed to the court for protective bail to enable the former president to appear in the trial court to defend himself.
Musharraf, who ruled Pakistan from 1999 to 2008 after seizing power in 1999 in a bloodless coup, has also been charged with imposing emergency and dismissing many judges.
Cases have also been registered for ordering a military raid on a mosque in Islamabad.
Pakistan will hold general elections May 11.
While in exile, Musharraf launched his own political party, the All Pakistan Muslim League, and said he will lead the election campaign.
The party will field candidates to almost all seats in the general elections.
“My return is in the interest of Pakistan. The country’s future is at stake and there is a need of a positive change in the country,” Musharraf earlier said in Dubai.