Pakistan: Police find bombs near Musharraf's house

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Associated Press

Posted on December 30, 2013 at 5:32 AM

Updated Monday, Dec 30 at 8:07 AM

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistani authorities defused four small bombs Monday planted near the house of former president and army chief Pervez Musharraf, just two days before he's to appear in court in a treason case, a police official said.

An onlooker spotted the devices alongside a road about a half kilometer (quarter mile) from Musharraf's farmhouse on the outskirts of Islamabad, said police officer Nayyar Saleem.

The improvised devices were left in separate plastic shopping bags, and there were about three kilograms (seven pounds) of explosives altogether, Saleem said. Authorities do not know if Musharraf was the intended target.

Musharraf is accused of high treason and is scheduled to appear before a court on Jan. 1. He was not able to attend a previous court hearing on Dec. 24 because of a bomb scare.

Musharraf ruled Pakistan for nearly a decade after taking power in a 1999 coup. But he was forced to step down in 2008 and later left the country in self-imposed exile. He returned in March hoping to take part in the upcoming elections but immediately faced a barrage of legal problems, relating to his time in office.

The high treason case relates to the state of emergency he imposed in 2007.

When asked whether Musharraf would be attending the New Year's Day hearing, a member of Musharraf's legal team, Raza Aslam, said it was currently under discussion.

Musharraf's supporters have portrayed the charges against him as a vendetta, and his lawyers are challenging the impartiality of the three judges hearing the treason case and the appointment of the prosecutor representing the government.

"If he cannot be afforded a fair trial then he should not be put on trial at all," said a member of Musharraf's legal team, Toby Cadman.

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