Thu, Dec 23, 2004 - Page 5 News List

Bhutto's husband gets out on bail


The husband of former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto was granted bail by a court yesterday, his lawyers said, a day after he was arrested for failing to turn up for a murder case hearing.

Asif Ali Zardari had been placed under house arrest on Tuesday, less than a month after his release on bail following eight years in prison in the last of 17 cases of corruption, murder and drug smuggling.

Sindh provincial high court in the southern city of Karachi overturned a judge's order on Tuesday to revoke his bail and have him rearrested, Zardari's lawyer Aziz Ullah Sheikh said.

"The two judges at the court, after hearing my arguments, suspended the order and granted bail in the sum of 300,000 rupees (US$5,000) surety," Aziz Ullah Sheikh said outside the high court.

Zardari, 48, did not attend the hearing as he remained under armed guard at his seaside villa in Karachi.

"We are submitting the surety and after a few formalities he will be released today," his lawyer added.

A judge at an anti-terrorism court had revoked Zardari's bail on Tuesday and ordered his arrest when he failed to attend a hearing in the case of the 1996 murder of a high court judge and his son.

He is also a co-accused in the case.

Police detained Zardari hours later as he stepped off a plane at Islamabad airport, while en route to a political rally in nearby Rawalpindi to drum up support for his wife's Pakistan People's Party.

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