Asia

Pakistan's Musharraf acquitted over Baloch rebel killing

File photo: Former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf (C), 20 April 2013 Image copyright AFP
Image caption Mr Musharraf still faces several charges relating to his time in power

A Pakistani court has acquitted former president Pervez Musharraf over the killing of a rebel leader in 2006.

Nawab Akbar Bugti was killed in a military operation in Balochistan while Mr Musharraf was in power.

Mr Musharraf still faces charges in other cases, including over Benazir Bhutto's 2007 assassination, and treason charges for imposing emergency rule in 2007.

The former military ruler has called all the charges politically motivated.

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 then General Musharraf, who was also army chief.

An anti-terrorism court in Quetta acquitted Mr Musharraf on Monday. A spokesman for Mr Musharraf told AFP he was happy with the ruling, which would restore "confidence in the judiciary".

However, prosecution lawyer Sohail Rajput told the BBC they would challenge the decision in the high court.

Meanwhile, Mr Bugti's grandson, Burhamdagh Bugti, told the BBC's Adil Shahzeb: "I did not have any belief in these courts... nobody can get justice in Pakistan."

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Lawyer Sohail Rajput, representing Mr Bugti's family, called the acquittal "an injustice and a joke"

This is Mr Musharraf's first acquittal in a number of court cases he has been facing since his return to the country in 2013, the BBC's M Ilyas Khan reports from Islamabad.

He also faces a murder claim over the 2007 assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, the suspension of judges during emergency rule in 2007, and the death of a cleric during a siege at the Red Mosque in Islamabad.

The former general seized power in a coup in 1999. He remained president until 2008, when a democratically elected government came into power.

He left the country soon afterwards to live in self-imposed exile in Dubai and London.

However, he returned in 2013, hoping to lead his party into elections - but was disqualified from standing and found himself fighting an array of charges relating to his time in power.

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