Pakistan court grants Musharraf bail in Bhutto murder

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A Pakistani court Monday granted bail to former military ruler Pervez Musharraf over the murder of Benazir Bhutto, an official said, but the retired general remains under house arrest.

“General Musharraf’s bail has been confirmed” by an anti-terrorism court in the garrison town of Rawalpindi, next to Islamabad, court official Mohammad Aslam Joya told AFP.

Judge Habibur Rehman has ordered Musharraf, who ruled Pakistan from 1999 to 2008 after seizing power in a coup, to pay two bonds worth one million rupees ($10,000) each, he added.

Musharraf has been detained in his farmhouse on the edge of Islamabad since April 19, on charges of conspiracy to murder two-time prime minister Bhutto, who was assassinated in a gun and bomb attack in 2007 in Rawalpindi.

The bail does not mean his automatic release as he also faces legal cases over the sacking of judges when he imposed emergency rule in 2007, and the 2006 death of a Baluch rebel leader.

Musharraf’s government blamed Bhutto’s killing on Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud, who denied any involvement and was killed in a U.S. drone attack in 2009.

Musharraf returned from exile in March to stand in last week’s general election, vowing to “save” the country from militancy and economic collapse but he was barred from running over charges dating back to his time in power.

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