Musharraf remanded again; but ensconced comfortably

The Rawalpindi anti-terrorism court trying one of the three cases against Pakistan's former military ruler Gen Pervez Musharraf today remanded him to the physical custody of the Federal Investigation Agency till 30 April.

The court had on Thursday refused to extend Musharraf's bail in a case related to the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in 2007.

After a brief hearing, Judge Chaudhry Habib-ur-Rehman accepted the FIA's request to be given physical custody of the 69-year-old former military ruler.

This however does not mean much beyond a change of guard, as Musharraf only continues under house arrest at his farmhouse on the outskirts of Islamabad.

His lawyers assert that he is comfortable, and confident of defending himself against all charges to be a free citizen of Pakistan again.

Musharraf was driven in a motorcade from his residence to the anti-terrorism court shortly before 10 this morning. Scores of policemen and paramilitary troopers were deployed at the court complex, largely to bar protestors.

The media too was barred from the courtroom. Television footage outside the court showed Musharraf's motorcade leaving the court complex after the proceedings.

During Musharraf's last appearance at the same court earlier this week, several persons were injured when the former president's supporters clashed with lawyers (See: Another Pak court refuses bail to ex-president Musharraf).

The court has directed the FIA to produce Musharraf before it again on 30 April.

The judge rejected a request from Musharraf's lawyers for changing the joint investigation team.