QUETTA: A Pakistani court hearing the murder case of a slain Baluch nationalist leader on Monday ordered embattled former military ruler Pervez Musharraf to appear in person on April 21 or face arrest.
Musharraf, who was last week indicted by a special court for treason, has been on bail in three other major cases dating to his time in power, including one relating to the 2006 assassination of Baluch nationalist leader Nawab Akbar Bugti during a military operation.
“Judge Tariq Anwar Kasi ordered Musharraf to appear in person on April 21 or the arrest warrant will be executed,” a court official said.
Bugti led an armed campaign to press for provincial autonomy and a greater share of profits from Baluchistan’s natural resources.
His killing sparked deadly nationwide protests and inflamed an armed insurgency that rose up in 2004.
The official added the court had rejected an application by Musharraf’s lawyer Riaz Janjua for an exemption from a personal appearance.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s military will protect its dignity “at all costs,” the army chief said on Monday in an apparent show of irritation over the treason trial of former army chief and president Pervez Musharraf.
Such talk from the Army Chief, General Raheel Sharif, the most powerful figure in Pakistan, is likely to raise concern about political intervention by the army, which would set back hopes for the development of democracy and civilian rule.
30 separatists killed
Pakistani security forces killed 30 separatist militants on Monday in an offensive in Baluchistan, a senior official said, in one of the biggest clashes in months in the gas-rich province.
Separatist insurgents fighting for independence accuse the government of exploiting the gas and mineral reserves of the southwestern province but neglecting the poverty of its people.
The separatists often attack natural gas facilities such as pipelines as well as infrastructure and security-force posts.
Provincial interior minister Sarfraz Bugti said security forces seized a large quantity of weapons during the raids. Ten members of a government paramilitary force were wounded in the fighting, Bugti said.
Rebel spokesman were not immediately available for comment.
The low-level separatist insurgency in Baluchistan is one of the chronic security problems undermining stability in nuclear-armed Pakistan.