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Judge grants bail for ex-Pakistani leader

ISLAMABAD — A court granted bail Monday for Pervez Musharraf, a former president of Pakistan, in a case related to the death of a radical cleric, paving the way for an end to his months-long house arrest, his lawyer said.

Musharraf, 70, returned to Pakistan in March after years of self-imposed exile. He already had been granted bail in three other cases against him. However, he is still barred from leaving the country, said his lawyer, Ilyas Saddiqi.

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Musharraf received bail, Saddiqi said, because there was no evidence to prove his involvement in the death of the cleric, who was killed during a raid on a hard-line mosque in 2007. Musharraf ordered the raid against the Red Mosque after students there began harassing massage parlors, stores in the capital that sold music, and other targets they thought promoted vulgarity.

People holed up in the mosque fought for days. Nearly 100 people died, including at least 10 army commandos. The army said it seized a large cache of arms.

The raid damaged Musharraf’s reputation and earned him the hatred of militants who launched a series of attacks following the raid.

Saddiqi said the bail means Musharraf should be free to leave his house on the outskirts of Islamabad, where he has been under arrest since April. The other cases have to do with his alleged role in the murder of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, the death of a separatist leader killed by the army, and the detention of Pakistani judges.

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