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Pakistan's Musharraf ordered held in custody for two weeks

By Nic Robertson and Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
April 22, 2013 -- Updated 1058 GMT (1858 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: A court orders Pervez Musharraf to be held in judicial custody for two weeks
  • NEW: The former president will be kept under house arrest at his farmhouse, police say
  • He is accused of illegally ordering the detention of senior judges in 2007
  • A spokesman for Musharraf, who also faces other court cases, said he denies the charges

Islamabad (CNN) -- Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf was remanded in custody for two weeks Saturday by an anti-terrorism court over allegations he illegally ordered the detention of judges in 2007.

His appearance had been ordered by Pakistan's High Court, which on Thursday ruled that his alleged actions amounted to an act of terrorism.

After a 20-minute hearing, the anti-terrorism court in Islamabad placed Musharraf on judicial remand for 14 days. His next court appearance in the case is set for May 4.

As the former president left the court, there were clashes between anti-Musharraf lawyers and a small pro-Musharraf crowd.

Pervez Musharraf facing charges
Pakistani court: No bail for Musharraf

Authorities decided Musharraf will be held under house arrest at his farmhouse compound in Chak Shazad, outside the Pakistani capital.

He will be moved from police headquarters, where he was whisked after his court appearance, to the farmhouse, police officials said.

The farmhouse has been converted into a "sub jail," Musharraf's lawyer, Ahmed Raza Qasoori, said Friday.

Musharraf spent Friday night at police headquarters following his appearance before a magistrate earlier in the day, after which he was initially allowed to return to the farmhouse.

Musharraf will continue to seek bail in the case, his lawyer said. An attempt on Thursday to appeal the High Court's decision at the Supreme Court appeared to have so far been unsuccessful.

The former president denies the charges against him and never gave any order to detain or abduct the judges in 2007, said Mohammad Amjad, a spokesman for his political party.

The development is the latest setback for Musharraf since the former military ruler returned to Pakistan last month to fight a series of court cases against him and re-enter the country's turbulent political scene by seeking to run in upcoming elections.

His arrest highlights the increased willingness of Pakistan's judiciary, which clashed with Musharraf during his time in power, to pursue cases against high-profile figures previously considered to be untouchable. No former Pakistani army chief has previously been arrested and detained.

Amid a long-running fight with the judiciary, Musharraf resigned as president of Pakistan in 2008 after nine years in power and went into exile the following year, living in London and Dubai. He came back to Pakistan last month under heavy security.

But so far, his return does not seem to be going according to plan.

Last week, Pakistani election officials barred him from running for a seat in parliament in elections next month, a decision his lawyer has said he will challenge.

The ex-military strongman still has to face two separate other cases dating from his time in power. The first relates to claims he did not do enough to protect the life of Benazir Bhutto -- the first woman to be elected prime minister of Pakistan -- after she was assassinated in 2007, weeks before an election in which she hoped to return to office.

Musharraf is also accused of ordering his troops to kill Nawab Akbar Bugti, a popular tribal leader, in the volatile province of Balochistan, in 2006.

CNN's Nic Robertson reported from Islamabad and Laura Smith-Spark wrote in London. CNN's Jethro Mullen, Aliza Kassim, Nasir Habib and Shaan Khan contributed to this report.

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