Pak SC withdraws directive letting Musharraf file nomination for general polls

The Asian Age.  | Shafqat Ali

World, Asia

The SC had earlier allowed him to contest the general polls provided he appeared before for a case linked to his lifelong disqualification.

Chief Justice Saqib Nisar has rebuked the former army chief for "cowardice", taunting him for not appearing in court. (Photo: File)

Islamabad: Former Pakistan military ruler Pervez Musharraf’s hope of contesting the upcoming polls was dashed on Thursday after the Supreme Court withdrew the conditional permission given earlier to the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) chief.

The apex 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 of the SC heard the case pertaining to Musharraf’s return. The former dictator requested more time to return to the country, however, the court refused to entertain his requests after granting a day-long extension in the June 13 deadline.

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

“Alright, we’ll adjourn the court hearing till indefinite time period, will hold it on your wish,” responded the chief justice.

APML Secretary General Dr Mohammad Amjad Chaudhry confirmed that Musharraf will not be appearing before the apex court. The apex court had set a deadline of 2 pm (June 14) for the former military ruler to appear before the three-member bench, hearing the disqualification petition.

Also Read: Musharraf fails to show in court, SC gives him time till Thursday afternoon

Chaudhry also added that Musharraf’s legal team will be applying for an extension. “We will request them to set a date after Eidul Fitr. If they agree, Pervez Musharraf will return,” he said.

However, early Thursday morning, the party’s tweets had stated that Musharraf was due to land in the wee hours of the night as “preparations (for his return) were in the last stages.”

On June 7, the top court summoned Musharraf in response to a petition filed against his lifetime disqualification to contest the elections in view of Peshawar High Court’s (PHC) 2013 judgment.

The court also assured Musharraf’s counsel that the former milit6ary ruler would not be arrested. It also allowed the returning officers to receive his nomination papers for the upcoming election. However, acceptance of his nomination papers will be subject to the outcome of the case.

 “The appellate court’s decision was challenged in the Peshawar High Court, which disqualified him for life,” he said.

The petition said the PHC decision was an excessive exercise of judicial authority as it failed to provide and protect the rights guaranteed under articles 4, 9, 10, 17, 25 of the constitution.