World News Brief, Wednesday August 21

Pakistan's Musharraf indicted on murder charges; Bo Xilai's son speaks out in defence of his father; China says it is prepared to defend its territorial rights; Muslim Brotherhood leader arrested in Egypt; Boko Haram leader may be dead; and more

Top of the Agenda: Pakistan's Musharraf Indicted on Murder Charges

A Pakistani court indicted former president Pervez Musharraf for the 2007 murder of opposition leader and former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in a move (AFP) that marks the first time a head of Pakistan's army has been charged with a crime. Bhutto was killed in a suicide attack after a campaign rally in Rawalpindi. Musharraf, who took power in a 1999 coup and was forced out of office by a democratically elected government in 2008, has been under house arrest (al-Jazeera) since April 19, when he returned to the country ahead of a general election to campaign for his All Pakistan Muslim League party. Observers say the ruling challenged beliefs that the military, which has ruled the country for more than half of its history, is immune from prosecution (BBC).


"The case looks more and more political, particularly when you consider that Mr. Musharraf finds himself in a country led by Nawaz Sharif, the prime minister he ousted in a coup in 1999, and where the chief justice is still Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, the man who did more than anyone to end the military strongman's time in power," writes Rob Crilly for The Telegraph.

"The case is now taking its due legal course, and we can safely say that it was the judiciary that actually went after him. The motive may be revenge, according to some, because of Mr Musharraf's attempts to sack the entire higher judiciary in 2007. Or it could simply be an opportunity to break new ground in Pakistan's legal history by arraigning a former army chief," writes M Ilyas Khan for the BBC.

"Pakistan's soldiers need to be discouraged from intervening ever again. The best way of doing that is for democratically elected leaders to assert their authority over military ones. Mr. Sharif has a chance to hold a military dictator to account in a country in which military dictators have enjoyed impunity," writes the Economist.



Bo Xilai's Son Speaks Out

Bo Guagua, the son of disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai, published a statement (NYT) in the New York Times urging Beijing to give his father a chance to defend himself when he stands trial later this week. Bo said he has been denied contact with his parents for the past eighteen months.

This CFR Backgrounder explains the Chinese Communist Party and outlines the Bo Xilai case.

CHINA: China's defense minister said at the Pentagon on Monday that China was prepared to defend (Bloomberg) its territorial interests and would not barter for its maritime rights in the Asia-Pacific region.

This CFR Backgrounder outlines tensions over the South China Sea, one of the major territorial disputes in the region.


Muslim Brotherhood leader arrested in Egypt

Boko Haram leader may be dead


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