Pakistan's Musharraf can run for parliament

  • Article by: ZARAR KHAN
  • Associated Press
  • April 7, 2013 - 5:48 AM

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan's former military ruler Gen. Pervez Musharraf was given approval on Sunday to run for parliament in a remote northern district after being rejected in two other parts of the country, his aide said.

Rashid Qureshi said election officials in Chitral, near the Afghan border, accepted Musharraf's nomination papers.

Musharraf, who seized power in a military coup in 1999 but was forced to step down nearly a decade later, returned to Pakistan from exile last month to run for the National Assembly. The May 11 election will mark the first transition between two democratically elected governments in the 65-year history of Pakistan, a country that has experienced three military coups and constant political instability.

Musharraf's two other applications to run in districts in southern and central Pakistan were rejected while a third in Islamabad is pending.

Opponents have filed objections based on actions he took while ruling Pakistan. His opponents allege that he violated the constitution by overthrowing an elected government in 1999, was involved in the killing of a nationalist leader, ousted superior judiciary judges and ordered a raid against a mosque in downtown Islamabad that had become a sanctuary for militants.

Pakistani Election Commission officials could not be reached for comment to explain why Musharraf is being allowed to run in one constituency after being rejected in two others.

Judge Syed Ikramullah rejected Musharraf's candidacy in an area of the southern port city of Karachi after Musharraf failed to appear before the court to respond to objections raised by his opponents. His attorney, Shafiq Ahmad, appeared and told the court that Musharraf would appeal the rejection of his candidacy.

Musharraf landed in Karachi on March 24 after more than four years in self-exile. The outgoing Zardari government forced him to step down in August 2008.

Musharraf is viewed as an enemy by many Islamic militants and others for his decision to side with America in the response to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The Pakistani Taliban have threatened to kill him.

Musharraf also faces legal charges, including some originating from the probe of the 2007 assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

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