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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Sep 2014

World

Pak SC to hear Musharraf treason petition today
AFP
Islamabad, April 08, 2013
First Published: 07:55 IST(8/4/2013)
Last Updated: 11:23 IST(8/4/2013)

Former Pakistani military dictator Pervez Musharraf's rocky return to his homeland continues on Monday as the country's highest court considers an application to have him stand trial for treason.

The retired general returned to Pakistan from four years of self-imposed exile last month vowing to run for parliament in the May 11 general election to "save" the troubled nuclear-armed state.

But his nomination papers were rejected in three of the four constituencies he planned to contest -- running in multiple seats is not unusual in Pakistan -- and he faces a barrage of legal cases.

The Supreme Court is to hear a petition brought by Taufiq Asif, president of the Rawalpindi high court bar association, seeking to try Musharraf for treason for imposing emergency rule in 2007, a move that ultimately paved the way for his downfall.

Aside from this, Musharraf faces a number of other legal cases. He has been bailed over the 2007 killing of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and a Baluch rebel leader in 2006, and for sacking and arresting judges in 2007.

The upcoming election will be the first democratic transition of power in the history of Pakistan, which has undergone three periods of military rule, most recently under Musharraf, and is struggling with a weak economy, chronic instability and poverty.

Since he left power in 2008 Musharraf's powerbase has shrivelled and last month he suffered the indignity of having a shoe thrown at him in court by an angry lawyer -- a deeply insulting gesture in the Muslim world.

He is not thought likely to win more than a couple of seats with his All Pakistan Muslim League party, which he founded in self-imposed exile with the help of Pakistani expatriates.

Officials in the far northern town of Chitral, close to the Afghan border, approved Musharraf's candidature on Sunday, but he was rejected for seats in Islamabad, Karachi and the Punjab town of Kasur.

In Karachi, returning officer Ikramur Rehman on Sunday upheld objections raised by his rivals that Musharraf had violated the constitution and sacked top judges by imposing emergency rule in 2007.


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