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Pakistan

Pakistan orders arrest of former President Musharraf

A court in Pakistan has ordered the arrest of former President Musharraf, who recently returned from exile to run in elections. The arrest order relates to treason charges from 2007.

The order for the arrest of Pervez Musharraf was issued on Thursday by Islamabad's high court. He is wanted on treason charges relating to his 2007 decision as president to fire senior judges in an effort to maintain his slipping grip on power.

Since Musharraf's return to Pakistan a few weeks ago, he has been out on bail relating to these and other charges, including that he failed to do enough as president to ensure the safety of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto when she returned from exile. She was assassinated in 2007.

Thursday's arrest was ordered because bail was not extended in the case concerning the sacked judges.

Musharraf returned to Pakistan to run in general elections, which are scheduled for May 11. After being rejected as a candidate in three districts, he was accepted by the northern district of Chitral. However, his candidacy was disqualified by the high court in Peshawar on Tuesday. He has also been the subject of death threats by the Taliban, who have claimed a number of attacks on candidates in the run-up to the election.

The former president was at the courthouse in Islamabad when his bail was revoked, but no effort was made by police officers present to arrest Musharraf before he quickly drove away from the courthouse with his security detail.

The court's decision came as a surprise to Musharraf's supporters, and the Associated Press quoted a spokeswoman as saying his legal team was working to figure out Musharraf's next move.

mz/kms (Reuters, AP, AFP)