RAWALPINDI/PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Tuesday banned former military ruler Pervez Musharraf from politics for life.
The ruling came in response to an appeal filed by the former army strongman over the rejection of his nomination papers for the National Assembly seat in Chitral.
A four-member larger bench, headed by PHC Chief Justice Dost Mohammad Khan and comprising of Justice Malik Manzoor, Justice Syed Afsar Shah and Justice Ikramullah 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.
Announcing the decision, Justice Khan said Musharraf had imposed an illegal emergency and targeted the judiciary, therefore the court was imposing a life-time ban on the retired general, barring him from contesting polls for the national and provincial assemblies as well as the Senate.
The bench also rejected the former president’s appeal over the rejection of his nomination papers from NA-32 (Chitral).
Also today, an anti-terrorist court in Rawalpindi ordered a two-week-long judicial remand for the retired general in the Benazir Bhutto murder case and also granted permission to Balochistan police to question him in the Akbar Bugti killing case.
Musharraf was not presented in court during Tuesday’s hearing over 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 in the Benazir murder case.
Earlier 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.
Also today, the ATC allowed Balochistan police to question Musharraf in the case pertaining to the killing of Baloch nationalist leader Akbar Khan Bugti.
Bugti was killed in a military action in the mountains of Dera Bugti on August 26, 2006 while Musharraf was president as well as army chief.
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.