Pakistan Taleban issue fresh threat to kill Musharraf

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AFP) - The Pakistani Taleban on Sunday issued a fresh threat to assassinate former military ruler Pervez Musharraf, who is currently facing a barrage of legal cases in police custody.

The retired general has been detained in his farmhouse on the edge of the capital Islamabad since April 19 on charges of conspiracy to murder former premier Benazir Bhutto, sacking of judges when he imposed emergency rule in 2007, and the 2006 death of a Baluch rebel leader.

Before his arrival in March, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) threatened to kill him for his alliance in the US-led "war on terror" and attempts to clamp down on militants, when he was in power.

Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan on Sunday issued a fresh warning in a video message posted on Taliban website Umar Media, saying "Soon we will punish this Satan (devil) to death for his wicked deed".

Musharraf went to the top of the Taleban hit list after ordering the army in 2007 to storm the Red Mosque in Islamabad, where radicals were holed up. The operation left more than 100 people dead and opened the floodgates to Islamist attacks in Pakistan.

"From Baluchistan to Waziristan, Musharraf threw this country in blood and fire, he is the killer of hundreds of innocent students of Lal Masjid (red Mosque)," Ehsan said.

A Pakistani court on Wednesday refused bail to Musharraf over the detention of judges.

The ruling came two days after a court granted him bail over the murder of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, who was killed in a gun and bomb attack in 2007.

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 and was seen by many as a challenge to the armed forces' power.

Since Nawaz Sharif, ousted by Musharraf's coup in 1999, won the election there has been speculation a deal would be reached to allow Musharraf to leave Pakistan without facing the courts.

Musharraf escaped three assassination attempts when in office from 1999 to 2008, a target of Islamist extremists because of his alliance in the US-led "war on terror" and attempts to clamp down on militants.

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