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Musharraf barred from elections

Pervez Musharraf. Photo: ReutersPervez Musharraf. Photo: Reuters

Pakistan’s former military leader Pervez Musharraf has been disqualified from running in forthcoming parliamentary elections after returning from self-imposed exile to make a political comeback.

Over a week ago, a judge in the remote northern district of Chitral gave him approval to run in the May 11 election, even though he was disqualified in three other districts for suspending the constitution and sacking senior judges while in power. Pakistan’s political system allows a candidate to run for multiple seats simultaneously.

Lawyers challenged the decision in Chitral, and a three-member appellate tribunal disqualified Mr Musharraf from running in the district. He can appeal gainst the ruling in the Supreme Court.

The tribunal’s decision is one of the biggest blows in what has been a bumpy return for Mr Musharraf after over four years in exile.

He seized power in a military coup in 1999 and ruled for nearly a decade before he was forced to step down and left the country in 2008 because of discontent with his rule. He returned to Pakistan last month to stage a political comeback, but he has been met with low levels of public support, a variety of legal challenges and Taliban death threats.

The former military strongman was only met with a few thousand people at the airport in the southern city of Karachi when his plane from Dubai landed on March 24, a sign of how little support analysts say he enjoys in the country.

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