Pakistani anti-terrorism court on Monday granted bail to former military ruler Pervez Musharraf over the assassination of ex-Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in 2007, but the ex-president will remain under house arrest.
The granting of bail does not mean that 69 year-old Musharraf, who is currently being held at his palatial farmhouse on the outskirts of Islamabad, will be freed as he faces two other cases -- detaining dozens of judges during the 2007 emergency and for the killing of Baloch nationalist leader Akbar Bugti in a 2006 military operation.
Judge Chaudhry Habib-ur-Rehman of the anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi granted bail to Mr. Musharraf against two surety bonds of Rs. 10 lakh each.
During the arguments, Mr. Musharraf’s lawyer Salman Safdar said there was no solid evidence or witness against his client.
He said that Mr. Musharraf had not been blamed by the family of any of the victims for the 2007 suicide attack that killed Bhutto.
Prosecutor Chaudhry Azhar of the Federal Investigation Agency opposed Mr. Musharraf’s bail petition, saying the former President could flee Pakistan if he was freed from detention.
Bhutto was killed by a suicide bomber after she addressed an election rally in Rawalpindi in December 2007. Mr. Musharraf has been accused of providing inadequate security to Bhutto.
Mr. Musharraf was arrested shortly after he returned to Pakistan in March to lead his All Pakistan Muslim League party in the general election. He was subsequently barred by a court from contesting polls for the rest of his life.
Speculation is rife in Islamabad that Mr. Musharraf may be allowed to leave the country under a deal worked out by the powerful military.