Pakistan: hold Musharraf accountable for abuses

Human Rights Watch (HRW) on March 23 said that Pakistan should hold former military ruler Pervez Musharraf accountable for alleged human rights abuses upon his return to the country. Musharraf is expected to return to Pakistan on Sunday to be a candidate in upcoming parliamentary elections, ending a four-year self-imposed exile. A judge on Friday granted him protective bail so that he cannot be arrested within 10 days of his return on charges related to dismissal of judges and 14 days on charges related to two murders. HRW Pakistan Director Ali Dayan Hasan said:

Musharraf should not be allowed to elude the serious legal proceedings against him on his return to Pakistan. Only by ensuring that Musharraf faces the well-documented outstanding charges against him can Pakistan put an end to the military’s impunity for abuses.

Hasan noted that dealing with the charges “will be a real test for Pakistan’s judiciary” because many judges were personally affected by Musharraf’s actions, but that it is “a test they must face and pass” to ensure that military leaders who abused their power are held accountable.

Last year, Pakistani authorities pledged to arrest Musharraf for his alleged involvement in the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in 2007. Months earlier, a court ordered seizure of his property and froze his bank account after Musharraf failed to respond to multiple subpoenas related to the assassination investigation. In 2011, Pakistani authorities issued an arrest warrant for Musharraf, but were unable to serve it on him because he was living in London at the time. That warrant was issued weeks after investigations revealed that Musharraf had issued orders to the police officers accused of failing to protect Bhutto on the day that she was assassinated.

From Jurist, March 24. Used with permission.