Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf failed to appear Tuesday at a court where he was due to be indicted in connection with the death of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto.
Musharraf didn’t travel to the hearing at an anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi because intelligence services warned of credible threats against his life, said his lawyer Ahmed Raza Kasuri.
The Pakistani capital, Islamabad, which adjoins Rawalpindi, was put on high alert Sunday after intelligence reports suggested the possibility of a high-profile attack.
The court has adjourned Musharraf’s case until August 20, Kasuri said.
Musharraf is not expected to be charged with murder, but over his alleged failure to provide adequate security for Bhutto, Kasuri said last week.
Accusations over assassination
Bhutto, Pakistan’s first female prime minister, was assassinated in a gun-suicide attack in December 2007, shortly after she came back to Pakistan from self-imposed exile to take part in the 2008 general elections.
Musharraf was president at the time.
Musharraf’s government blamed former Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud for the assassination, saying he had paid a network of Islamist militants to carry out the killing.
But Musharraf and his security forces have been accused of failing to protect Bhutto, a political rival.
The former military ruler has denied having anything to do with Bhutto’s killing and his lawyers say the allegations against him are politically motivated. He plans to plead not guilty to the expected charges.
A troubled return
After the general elections in 2008 where his party was trounced, Musharraf stepped down as the governing coalition began taking steps to impeach him.
He then went into self-imposed exile.
Earlier this year, he returned to Pakistan in an attempt to revive his political career. It didn’t work.
Instead, he’s become entangled in a thicket of court cases related to his time as the country’s top leader.
He has been under house arrest since April.