Pakistan's Supreme Court today withdrew a conditional permission for former military ruler Pervez Musharraf to contest elections after he failed to appear in court.
Pakistan’s Supreme Court today withdrew a conditional permission for former military ruler Pervez Musharraf to contest elections after he failed to appear in court. Musharraf had filed his nomination from the northern district of Chitral after the court last week allowed him to contest the July 25 general election but made it conditional on his appearance before it on June 13 in a case linked to his lifelong disqualification by the Peshawar High Court in 2013. Chief Justice Saqib Nisar yesterday rebuked the former army chief for “cowardice”, taunting him for not appearing in court and had told him to appear by 2 pm today.
During the hearing, his counsel Qamar Afzal informed the court that Musharraf, 74, was determined to return but it was not possible for him to come immediately. “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,” Afzal said. It prompted the chief justice to adjourn the hearing for an indefinite period, saying the next hearing will be held when the petitioner was ready for it.“Alright, we’ll adjourn the court hearing till indefinite time period, will hold it on your wish,” the judge observed.
But he ordered to withdraw the conditional permission for Musharraf to contest elections. Earlier today, Musharraf’s All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) said on Twitter that “preparations for his return were in the final stage”. It was not clear why the plan was changed within hours after it was announced. Musharraf has been living in Dubai since March 2016, and is wanted in several cases.
He is facing a high-profile treason case and has been declared an absconder due to his persistent failure to appear before the special trial court set up to try him. The former president was indicted in March 2014 on treason charges for imposing an emergency in the country which led to the confinement of a number of superior court judges in their houses and sacking of over 100 other judges.
A conviction for high-profile treason carries the death penalty or life imprisonment. Musharraf has sought adequate security from the government for his return to appear in court in the treason case. Musharraf, who ruled Pakistan from 1999 to 2008, has been declared a fugitive in the Benazir Bhutto murder case and Red Mosque cleric killing case. In April 2013, the Peshawar High Court had disqualified him for life, holding him ineligible to contest elections. It also dismissed his appeal against his disqualification.