Former President Pervez Musharraf.— File Photo
AWALPINDI: An application was filed on behalf of former military ruler Pervez Musharraf on Friday for exemption from attendance in a court pertaining to the Benazir Bhutto murder case, DawnNews reported.
The plea was filed in Rawalpindi’s Anti-terrorism court (ATC). In the application, Musharraf requested the court to allow him exemption from attending the hearing due to security concerns.
The Benazir Bhutto murder case’s hearing was adjourned until May 14.
Earlier, the Peshawar High Court (PHC) banned Musharraf from politics for life.
The ruling came in response to an appeal filed by the former army strongman over the rejection of his nomination papers for the National Assembly seat in Chitral.
A four-member larger bench, headed by PHC Chief Justice Dost Mohammad Khan and comprising of Justice Malik Manzoor, Justice Syed Afsar Shah and Justice Ikramullah ruled that since Musharraf had abrogated the Constitution twice, he could not be allowed to contest elections for either the National Assembly or the Senate.
Announcing the decision, Justice Khan said Musharraf had imposed an illegal emergency and targeted the judiciary; therefore the court was imposing a life-time ban on the retired general, barring him from contesting polls for the national and provincial assemblies as well as the Senate.
The bench also rejected the former president's appeal over the rejection of his nomination papers from NA-32 (Chitral).
Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in a gun-and-bomb attack outside Rawalpindi’s Liaquat Bagh on December 27, 2007 while Musharraf was president. She was killed after addressing an election campaign rally in the city.
The ATC had indicted Musharraf in the case in February 2011, and in August the same year he was declared a proclaimed offender and his property was attached because of his absence.
Musharraf returned to Pakistan last month after nearly four years of self-imposed exile to contest the May 11 general election.
Election officials had barred Musharraf from running for the National Assembly earlier, effectively derailing his attempts to regain a place in politics by standing at the polls.
Although Musharraf’s legal battles have provided an electrifying sideshow in the election race, he commands scant popular support and the outcome of the drama is unlikely to have much impact on the final results.