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Musharraf banned for life

Former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf

Former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf

PESHAWAR — A Pakistani court today imposed a lifetime ban on former President Pervez Musharraf from contesting elections, derailing his efforts to regain influence by winning a seat in parliament.

It was the first time a court in Pakistan had declared a citizen ineligible from contesting elections for life.

The former army chief returned last month after nearly four years of self-imposed exile to contest a May 11 general election, but election officers disqualified him because of court cases pending against him.

The High Court in the northwestern city of Peshawar rejected Musharraf’s appeal against the disqualification. Court Chief Justice Dost Mohammad Khan imposed the lifetime ban on running for election or becoming a member of the parliament.

“The former dictator had ordered senior judges and their families be put under house arrest and twice abrogated the country’s constitution,” Khan said when reading out the order.

Instead of triggering a hoped-for groundswell of popular support, Musharraf’s return has backfired. He became the first former army chief to be arrested in Pakistan when police took him into custody at their headquarters last Friday.

On April 20, a court remanded the former president in custody for two weeks, a deadline set to expire on May 4, as judges pushed ahead with plans to put Musharraf on trial for a crackdown on the judiciary during his time in office.

Today, an anti-terrorism court in the garrison city of Rawalpindi put Musharraf on a 14-day judicial remand for charges of failing to provide adequate security for former prime minister Benazir Bhutto before her 2007 assassination.

The new deadline of May 14 means Musharraf will be in detention on election day. (Reuters)

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