A Pakistani court on Wednesday rejected bail for former military ruler Pervez Musharraf in a case relating to the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in 2007, a Government prosecutor said.
It was the latest setback for Mr. Musharraf, who returned to Pakistan last month from four years in self-imposed exile to make a political comeback, but is currently under house arrest in connection with a different case.
Mr. Musharraf returned to run in the Parliamentary election scheduled for May 11, but was disqualified because of his actions while in power and is spending most of his time battling legal cases.
He blamed the Pakistani Taliban for Ms. Bhutto’s slaying, but Government investigators later said there was evidence of his involvement. A U.N. report had faulted Mr. Musharraf’s Government for failing to provide Ms. Bhutto with adequate security.
Mr. Musharraf has denied the allegations against him.
The former military ruler had arranged a pre-arrest bail in the Bhutto case and several others before returning to Pakistan, meaning he could not be immediately arrested on arrival.
On Wednesday, the Islamabad High Court rejected Mr. Musharraf’s bail after his lawyer failed to appear to argue for an extension in the Bhutto case, said Government prosecutor Zulfikar Chaudhry.
Mr. Musharraf could now be arrested and tried in connection with the Bhutto case as well, Mr. Chaudhry said.
The former General was placed under house arrest over the weekend in connection with a case involving his decision to fire senior judges, including the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, while in power. His arrest followed a dramatic escape from court in which he fled in a speeding vehicle to avoid detention. He was eventually placed under arrest at his heavily guarded house on the outskirts of Islamabad.
Mr. Musharraf stepped down from power in 2008 in the wake of growing discontent with his rule, especially among the legal community because of his decision to dismiss judges. He returned last month despite the legal challenges against him, as well as death threats by the Pakistani Taliban.
Police defused a car bomb parked about 150 m (500 ft) from Mr. Musharraf’s house in Islamabad on Tuesday and are investigating how the vehicle was able to get so close to his home.