Former military dictator Pervez Musharraf’s ambition to contest the elections was nipped in the bud on Tuesday with an election tribunal throwing out his nomination from Chitral — the lone constituency where his papers were accepted after the first round of scrutiny earlier this month.
His appeals to the election tribunals overseeing the decisions of the Returning Officers of Karachi, Kasur and Islamabad had already been turned down and the former army chief was pinning his hopes on Chitral where he had cleared the first round till an opponent moved a complaint against him.
Gen. (retd) Musharraf’s lawyer said the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) would move the Supreme Court against the election tribunals’ decisions. He is already facing a series of cases in the apex court including one of high treason for declaring emergency on November 3, 2007. That decision of Gen. Musharraf has already been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in its verdict of July 31, 2009.
His ambitions to enter Parliament through the ballot box came a cropper a day after the APML unveiled its manifesto with considerable fanfare at the “Quaid’s’’ farmhouse on the outskirts of Islamabad. For his party workers, Gen. Musharraf is no longer the general but Quaid (leader) or Syed Pervez Musharraf. However, the salute remains his preferred way of greeting people and many an APML worker has taken to it.
Asked about his cases with the court — particularly the case of high treason under Article 6 — Gen. Musharraf said: “I did nothing wrong. Every decision of mine was for Pakistan.” With most of his appeals already turned down, he said “there are lots of hurdles in my way but I will not be disheartened” as if in anticipation of further disappointment at the tribunals.
Gen. Musharraf is not the only person who has held a high office to be rejected at the nomination stage. He shares the honours with former Prime Minister Raja Parvez Ashraf whose appeal to a tribunal against the rejection of his nomination papers was also turned down. The charges against him included misuse of discretionary funds in his constituency and defaulting on payments.
This has effectively taken out of the race both Pakistan Peoples Party Premiers of the last government as Yousaf Raza Gilani was already disqualified by a Supreme Court judgement in June 2012 from contesting for Parliament for five years.