ISLAMABAD – A bomb exploded near a convoy carrying former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf who is on trial for treason, but the former ruler was not harmed, a police official and his spokeswoman said Thursday.
Musharraf had survived multiple assassination attempts while he was in office. When he returned to the country last year, the Pakistani Taliban vowed to kill him.
In the latest attack, Musharraf was traveling from the military hospital in Rawalpindi where he's been treated since January to his house in the capital of Islamabad when the blast went off late Wednesday, said police official Mohammed Hayat.
Musharraf's convoy had just crossed a bridge entering the capital when the bomb went off, Hayat said. He said the blast was caused by 4.4 pounds of explosives, adding that it was not clear whether it was a remote control or time device.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.
Musharraf's spokeswoman, Aasia Ishaq, said the retired general was fine and reached his home safely but that it was up to the authorities to make sure nothing happens to him.
"All extremist and terrorist forces want to kill Musharraf," said the spokeswoman. "If anything happens to Musharraf, the government will be responsible."
Musharraf, 70, took power in a 1999 coup and served until 2008, when he was forced to step down as his popularity plummeted. He later went into self-imposed exile. Musharraf returned in March of last year to run in the elections -- only to be disqualified and immediately face a number of legal challenges related to his time in office.
The most serious is a high treason case brought against him by the government that could result in the death penalty if he's convicted. The case stems from his decision to suspend the constitution on Nov. 3, 2007, and detain a number of judges.
Musharraf was formally charged in the case on Monday. It was only his second appearance in the court proceedings which started in December. He missed multiple appearances due to security concerns and others after going to the hospital in early January after complaining of chest pains.