Former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf was charged Tuesday in connection to the 2007 assassination of his rival, former prime minister Benazir Bhutto. Musharraf has long maintained his innocence and insists the charges are politically motivated. Six others were charged—four suspected militants and two senior police officers—and a court date was set for August 27. Musharraf returned earlier this year from self-imposed exile, in the hopes of running for office, but has since been placed under house arrest. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, whom Musharraf ousted in 1999 in a bloodless coup, intends to try Musharraf for treason.
"Ms. Bhutto's assassination at an election rally in Rawalpindi on 27 December 2007 was blamed by Mr. Musharraf's government on the Taliban.
A 2010 UN report said Benazir Bhutto's death could have been prevented and that Mr. Musharraf's government failed to provide enough protection - at the time his aides dismissed the report as a "pack of lies".
Ms. Bhutto was the daughter of former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who was himself executed in 1977 after being ousted in a coup. She was imprisoned shortly after that coup but went on to be twice elected prime minister.
In 2007 she came back to Pakistan after years abroad under a deal in which Mr Musharraf allowed her to return to take part in elections to be held in 2008.
But her assassination in a gun and bomb attack during the rally in Rawalpindi sparked massive protests and her Pakistan People's Party won a resounding victory in the polls allowing her widower, Asif Ali Zardari, to take up the presidency."
In a country where the military has controlled political power directly or indirectly for most of its 66-year history, no civil court has ever charged a service head with a political crime. The charges against Musharraf carry a maximum punishment of death.