An angry lawyer threw a shoe at former President Pervez Musharraf as he headed to court in southern Pakistan today to face legal charges following his return to the country after four years in self-imposed exile. The lawyer tossed his shoe at Musharraf as the former military strongman was walking down a hallway in the court building in the city of Karachi surrounded by a mob of security, supporters, and journalists, said a police official. Musharraf, who seized power in a military coup in 1999 but was forced to step down nearly a decade later, is disliked by many lawyers throughout Pakistan because of his decision to suspend the chief justice of the Supreme Court while he was in office.
The shoe did not hit Musharraf, and the lawyer was not detained because no charges were filed against him. Throwing a shoe at someone is an especially potent insult in Muslim countries because the sole is considered unclean. Local TV channels showed video of the incident, but it was impossible to identify the shoe thrower because he was hidden behind part of the corridor. Following the incident, judges granted Musharraf an extension of pre-emptive bail in three cases against him, meaning he cannot be immediately arrested.