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Musharraf freed from house arrest

Pakistan has freed former president Pervez Musharraf from house arrest days after after he was granted bail.

Prisons official Wajad Ali says jail staff were withdrawn from Mr Musharraf's home on the outskirts of Islamabad.

Mr Ali said Mr Musharraf was now free to move around Pakistan. His lawyer has said he is still barred from leaving the country pending the court cases against him.

A court granted Mr Musharraf bail on Monday in a case involving his alleged role in the death of a radical cleric killed during a raid on a hardline mosque in Islamabad in 2007. That paved the way for his release after the necessary paperwork.

Mr Musharraf has been granted bail in three other cases against him.


Mr Musharraf has been plagued by legal troubles since he returned to Pakistan in March after years of self-imposed exile.

The other cases have to do with his alleged role in the murder of former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto, the death of a Baluch separatist leader killed by the army and the detention of Pakistani judges.

Mr Musharraf, a 70-year-old former commando, seized power in a 1999 coup when he was serving as army chief and ruled the country for nearly a decade. He was forced to step down in 2008 in response to increasing pressure from a public unhappy with his rule, and left the country shortly after.

He returned from exile intending to run in upcoming national elections, but he was immediately ordered detained over the pending cases. He also was barred by a court from running for office for the rest of his life. His political party fared poorly in the May elections.

The images of Mr Musharraf facing justice like any other Pakistani citizen have been stunning in a country where the military has taken power in three coups and wielded enormous power even under civilian governments. Pakistan's army chief advised Mr Musharraf not to return, but he ignored the advice.

For security reasons, he was held at his lavish estate in the suburbs of Islamabad instead of a jail. Pakistani security forces have been protecting the estate following threats by the Taliban.


From Belfast Telegraph