Pakistan's Pervez Musharraf bailed over Bugti murder

In this photograph taken on April 20, 2013, former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf (C) is escorted by soldiers as he arrives at an anti-terrorism court in Islamabad. Mr Musharraf denies involvement in the 2006 death of Nawab Akbar Bugti

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Former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has been granted bail on a murder charge, raising chances of his release from months of house arrest.

The country's Supreme Court granted him bail of 1m rupees ($9,400; £5,800) in the murder case of a rebel leader.

Mr Musharraf denies involvement in the 2006 death of Nawab Akbar Bugti in Balochistan while he was president.

The former military ruler faces other charges, including a murder claim over Benazir Bhutto's 2007 assassination.

He is also facing trial over the suspension of judges during emergency rule, which he imposed in 2007, and the death of a cleric during a siege at a mosque in the same year.

'Free man'

Mr Bugti, a Baloch nationalist leader who had led an armed campaign for provincial autonomy, was killed in a cave in August 2006 during a military crackdown ordered by Mr Musharraf.

It was not immediately clear if Mr Musharraf, who has been granted bail in two other cases, remained under house arrest although his lawyer said he was now at liberty.

"Pervez Musharraf is a free man now after getting bail in the Bugti case," Qamar Afza said, according to Agence France-Presse news agency.

The likelihood is that he will remain under heavy guard at his villa near Islamabad due to threats to his life from Taliban-linked extremists, say correspondents.

Mr Musharraf has been in custody since April after he was hit with a series of charges relating to his 1999-2008 rule shortly after returning from self-imposed exile to contest a general election.

He has denied all allegations.

The former general came to power in 1999 when he ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a bloodless coup. In the wake of the 2001 al-Qaeda attacks on the United States he became a staunch ally of Washington.

He left Pakistan to live in self-imposed exile in Dubai and London after he was defeated by Benazir Bhutto's party in 2008.

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