Pakistan's former military ruler Pervez Musharraf has been indicted for the 2007 murder of Benazir Bhutto, the first time that a former army chief has been charged with such a serious crime.
Musharraf was charged at an anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi with murder, criminal conspiracy to murder and facilitation of murder — all charges that he has denied.
Six others have also been accused of the crimes, according to Dawn News: former Rawalpindi City Police Officer of Rawalpindi Saud Aziz, Khurram Shahzad, Hasnain Gul, Rafaqat Hussain, Sher Zaman and Abdul Rashee. All of them refute the allegations.
"These charges are baseless. We are not afraid of the proceedings. We will follow legal procedures in the court," Musharraf's lawyer Syeda Afshan Adil said, according to Al Jazeera.
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Security forces accompanied the 70-year-old Musharraf to the anti-terrorism court and continue to keep him under close surveillance, as the Pakistani Taliban have made several threats on his life, Reuters reports.
Benazir Bhutto twice served as Pakistan's prime minister, and was assassinated at an election rally in Rawalpindi on Dec. 27, 2007. Musharraf is accused of failing to prevent her murder, despite receiving warnings that she was in danger.
Musharraf has been kept under house arrest in Pakistan since April 19, when he returned from exile abroad in an unsuccessful bid to run for office in the spring elections.
The army chief ruled Pakistan from 1999 to 2008 — and now faces little prospect of making a political comeback, due to his unpopularity and legal troubles.