Pakistan re-arrests Musharraf over Red Mosque raid

ISLAMABAD (AFP) - Pakistani police said on Thursday they had arrested former military ruler Pervez Musharraf over the 2007 raid of the Red Mosque in Islamabad, a day after a court granted him bail in a separate case.

"We have put General Musharraf under house arrest in a case involving a military operation on an Islamabad mosque," Mr Muhammad Rizwan, a senior official of the Islamabad police told reporters.

"We will present him before a court on Friday," Mr Rizwan added, after visiting Musharraf's plush villa at the edge of Islamabad, which has been declared a sub-jail.

Pakistan's Supreme Court on Wednesday granted bail to Musharraf over the death of a rebel leader, a move that observers had thought would bring closer his possible release after nearly six months of house arrest.

He had already gotten bail in two other major cases against him, including one relating to the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

A party spokesman confirmed the arrest saying they will now apply for bail in the latest case.

"Yes, police have officially arrested General Musharraf and put him under house arrest. We will file his bail application soon," said Mr Muhammad Amjad, secretary General of Musharraf's All Pakistan Muslim League (APML).

Police had earlier refused a request by leaders of the radical Red Mosque to name General Musharraf as a suspect in the case of a military raid in 2007 which saw dozens killed including one of the administrators.

But Islamabad's High Court, acting on a petition by the son of the slain administrator, later issued instructions to Islamabad police to nominate him in the case, paving the way for Thursday's arrest.

Musharraf's allies in the party he founded were planning his flight abroad after they managed his bail approved in the other three cases.

Musharraf returned to Pakistan in March to run in the general election, vowing to "save" the country from economic collapse and militancy.

But he was barred from standing in the election, won convincingly by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif - the man he ousted from power in 1999 - and was hit with a barrage of criminal cases dating back to his rule.

Taking the former chief of army staff into custody was an unprecedented move in a country ruled for more than half of its life by the military. It was seen by many as a challenge to the armed forces' power.