Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto attends an election rally in Rawalpindi
Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto attends an election rally in Rawalpindi (Reuters)

Former Pakistan president and military leader Pervez Musharraf has been indicted on charges of conspiring to kill twice-elected prime minister Benazir Bhutto, who was murdered in 2007.

The anti-terrorism court of Rawalpindi charged the retired general with murder, conspiracy to commit murder and facilitation for murder in connection with the gun and bomb attack that killed Bhutto, an iconic Pakistani leader.

It is the first time that a member of the powerful military elite has been charged in Pakistan

Musharraf, who is under house arrest, took power in 1999 after a coup. He ruled as military president for nearly a decade before resigning from office to avoid impeachment.

His lawyer Afshan Adil said that her client "denied all charges", adding: "He is not involved in the case at all, totally. In fact, I believe that of all the offenses that he has been charged with, not a single case is applicable on the President.

"I don't know how these proceedings are being carried out against him."

The daughter of former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who was executed in 1977 after a coup, Benazir was a widely respected politician in Pakistan due to her support for the country's poor.

Jailed multiple times, she returned to Pakistan under a deal with Musharraf which allowed her to participate in elections.

After her assassination, authorities blamed Taliban extremists for the attack. Musharraf said he warned Bhutto of the danger she faced, but many accused him of failing to provide enough protection for the popular politician.

Musharraf came back to Pakistan after a four-year self-imposed exile to take part in elections earlier this year, but was barred from doing so because of pending legal cases.