Peshawar High Court imposes lifetime ban on Musharraf to contest elections

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Tuesday imposed life time ban on former military ruler Pervez Musharraf for contesting the elections.

The PHC bench headed by Chief Justice Dost Muhammad Khan gave its ruling in response to an appeal filed by the former President over the rejection of his nomination papers for a National Assembly seat in Chitral.

A bench ruled that since Musharraf had abrogated the Constitution twice, he could not be allowed to contest elections for either the National Assembly or the Senate.

The bench also rejected the former president’s appeal over the rejection of his nomination papers from NA-32 (Chitral).

Earlier in the day, an anti-terrorist court in Rawalpindi handed over former military ruler Pervez Musharraf to Federal Intelligence Agency (FIA) on two-week judicial remand in Benazir Bhutto murder case. Moreover, the court also granted permission to Balochistan police to question the former army strongman in the Akbar Bugti killing case.

The former President was not presented in court during Tuesday’s due to security reasons.

Speaking to media personnel after the hearing, FIA’s special prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali alleged that Musharraf was not cooperating with the investigation team.

Last week, the court had sent him on a physical remand. Since then, FIA investigators have been questioning the former military ruler in the high profile murder probe.

Moreover, an anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi rejected Musharraf’s plea for reconstitution of the joint investigation team (JIT).

Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in a gun-and-bomb attack outside Rawalpindi’s Liaquat Bagh on December 27, 2007 while Musharraf was president. She was killed after addressing an election campaign rally in the city.

The ATC had indicted Musharraf in the case in February 2011, and in August the same year he was declared a proclaimed offender and his property was attached because of his absence.

Musharraf returned to Pakistan last month after nearly four years of self-imposed exile to contest the May 11 general election.

Election officials had barred Musharraf from running for the National Assembly earlier, effectively derailing his attempts to regain a place in politics by standing at the polls.

Although Musharraf’s legal battles have provided an electrifying sideshow in the election race, he commands scant popular support and the outcome of the drama is unlikely to have much impact on the final results.