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No hope for Musharraf in Election 2018

SC bars former president from contesting election after he fails to return to country

Gulf News

Islamabad: There is little or no hope for Pakistan’s former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf to contest the upcoming elections after the Supreme Court (SC) withdrew its conditional permission on Thursday given earlier to the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) chairperson.

After several deadlines and directives, the Supreme Court refused to entertain Musharraf’s requests for further extension.

The top court had earlier granted conditional permission to Musharraf, allowing him to file his nomination papers and contest the polls scheduled for July 25, provided the former military ruler appeared in court.

A four-member bench, headed by the chief justice, was hearing Musharraf’s appeal against his 2013 disqualification by the Peshawar High Court. On Wednesday, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar warned that if Musharraf failed to appear on June 14 till 2pm, the verdict of his case will be announced in accordance with the law.

Musharraf’s counsel, Qamar Afzal, appeared on his behalf and said: “I have spoken to Musharraf, he asks for more time. He plans to come to Pakistan but due to Eid holidays and illness, he can’t travel immediately”.

The former army chief’s request for more time to return to the country was refused by the court after a daylong extension till June 14.

“Alright, we’ll adjourn the court hearing till indefinite time period, will hold it on your wish,” the chief justice responded. The apex court had set a deadline of Thursday 2pm for the former military ruler to appear before the court which was hearing the disqualification petition.

APML Secretary-General Dr Mohammad Amjad Chaudhry confirmed to media that Musharraf will not be appearing before the apex court. He also added that Musharraf’s legal team will be applying for an extension. Musharraf’s party leaders are seeking assurances from the Court that he would not be arrested or barred from travelling abroad.

Last week, the SC had issued a directive to unblock Musharraf’s national identity card (CNIC) and passport permitting Musharraf to file nomination papers for the July 25 general elections on the condition that he appears in person before the court to attend the hearing. Musharraf had then filed his nomination papers from NA-1 Chitral after the court’s directive, but failed to appear in court.

The top court summoned Musharraf with regards to a petition filed against his lifetime disqualification to contest the elections in view of Peshawar High Court’s (PHC) 2013 judgement.

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