ISLAMABAD, April 6: A legal team constituted by former president and chief of the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) will appear before the returning officer for NA-48 in Islamabad during the scrutiny of his nomination papers on Sunday.

Additional district and sessions judge Azam Khan, the RO, will also hear the objections against the former military ruler which have been filed by the Lahore High Court bar association, Rawalpindi, ex-servicemen legal forum, an activist of the PML-N and a lawyer.

Musharraf’s papers have already been rejected in NA-139 Kasur. Besides Islamabad, he has also filed nominations from NA-32 Chitral and NA-250 Karachi.

The APML chief has already decided not to appear in person before any returning officer in connection with the scrutiny of his nomination papers.

He has given the power of attorney to his close confidant Col Ilyas to represent him before the RO who had summoned him to appear before him on Sunday morning.

Sources in the party said the former military ruler held a detailed meeting with the members of his legal team at his fortress-like Chak Shahzad farmhouse on Saturday and discussed the strategy to face the legal challenges that he could face during the elections and his stay in the country.

On behalf of the LHCBA Rawalpindi, Anwaar Dar Advocate has filed the objections against Musharraf in NA-48. Referring to the Supreme Court judgment of July 31, 2009, Mr Dar contended that the apex court had observed that Musharraf abused his authority and violated the constitution on November 3, 2007, by imposing a state of emergency in the country.

He said Musharraf had ridiculed and humiliated the superior judiciary; therefore, he was subject to disqualification as envisaged in article 62 and 63 (g) of the constitution.

He said the former president was also allegedly involved in the murder of Nawab Akbar Bugti, Benazir Bhutto and the military operation in Lal Masjid besides in the missing persons’ cases. He also remained a proclaimed offender for many years.

Another objection against Musharraf is that before the passage of the 17th amendment, he had promised to doff his uniform but did not honour the promise after the amendment was passed. The former president has declared his assets to be over Rs760 million but did not disclose his source of income.

Lt-Col (retired) Khalid Abbasi and Lt-Col (retired) Inamur Rahim through an application raised the objection that Mr Musharraf had himself confessed in his book In the Line of Fire that “In mid-1965, with clouds of war with India…I applied for six days leave to go to Karachi with Sunday on both ends.

It was affectively eight days leave…my commanding officer would have none of it, it was too long, he said …I defied his decision…went home for eight days…I was told to return immediately. I refused and took the full eight days off that I had granted myself. On my return, my commanding officer initiated court martial proceedings against me. What saved me was the War of 1965.”

The ex-servicemen pointed out that when the war was imminent and an emergency had already been declared by the government, Musharraf deserted the service which was an offence. He escaped the punishment because of the breakout of the war.

They pointed out that the deserter, whose offence was still unpunished, should not be allowed to contest the elections.

They also claimed that Musharraf himself had admitted that while posted at Mangla as corps commander, he was called by then prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

He was instructed by the military secretary to the prime minister to come without telling anyone. Being the corps commander, he left Mangla without permission of General Jehangir Karamat, then the chief of the army staff (COAS), and betrayed the command and violated the discipline. He improperly took over the command of the army bypassing the army chief. But when the competent authority removed him and appointed Gen Ziauddin as the COAS, he revolted against the legally appointed chief, arrested him and detained him in a small room of 111 Brigade for more than three years without due process of law.

Later, Musharraf dismissed him without assigning any reason.

When contacted, Ahmed Raza Qasuri, a leader of Musharraf’s All Pakistan Muslim League, said the rival parties were afraid of Mr Musharraf’s popularity and they did not want him to contest the elections.

“Musharraf did a lot for Pakistan during his tenure but the political government did nothing during the last five years. They want to eliminate Musharraf in the initial stage and have filed frivolous objections against him,” he added.


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