Pak court orders Musharraf's re-arrest

Pervez MusharrafPakistan's former military ruler Pervez Musharraf can't leave his country just yet, despite his lawyers' claims after he was granted bail in a case against him on Thursday.

Musharraf has been re-arrested and sent back to 14 days' custody at his villa near Islamabad. A court today ordered that he be detained over accusations that he was responsible for a 2007 raid on a radical mosque that killed more than 100 people, police said.

The arrest came a day after his lawyers said he had been granted bail in other three cases and was free to leave the country if he so wished (See: Musharraf gets bail in Bugti case; 'free to leave Pakistan').

The complaint against Musharraf in the Red Mosque case was registered last month on the orders of a judge. Pakistani troops stormed the mosque after a stand-off with hardline Islamists inside.

The operation ordered by General Musharraf on the Islamabad mosque left a cleric and more than 100 others dead.

Musharraf, who has denied wrongdoing in the Red Mosque deaths, took power in a 1999 coup but was ousted by popular protests led by the country's judiciary in 2008.

He went into self-imposed exile the same year to live in Dubai and London but returned earlier this year in an abortive attempt to launch a political career before general elections in May.

His arrest comes as an increasingly activist judiciary has challenged the power of the powerful military. Apart from Musharraf, none of Pakistan's army chiefs has been arrested, even after leaving office.

Musharraf is facing murder trials over the assassination of Benazir Bhutto and a Baloch tribal leader. He has been bailed in both cases.

He also faces charges over his attempt to sack Pakistan's higher judiciary in 2007. The current government has said it will try him for treason.

Thursday's arrest is believed to relate to the death of radical cleric Abdul Rashid Ghazi who was killed when Pakistani troops stormed the mosque after a stand-off with hardline Islamists barricaded inside.

"We have put Gen Musharraf under house arrest in a case involving a military operation on an Islamabad mosque," said senior police official Muhammad Rizwan, according to AFP news agency.

"We will present him before a court on Friday," he added.

Gen Musharraf has been in custody since April after he was hit with a series of charges relating to his 1999-2008 rule shortly after returning from self-imposed exile to contest a general election, won by Nawaz Sharif's party.

The general had come to power in 1999 when he ousted Sharif, who was prime minister at the time, in a bloodless coup. Ironically, Sharif has returned to power in the May general elections, while Musharraf's attempt to regain power by democratic means has only resulted in his arrest and debarment from Pakistan politics.