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Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar on Thursday said that former president Pervez Musharraf will not be arrested if he arrives in Pakistan to file his nomination papers for the upcoming general elections.

The chief justice was hearing a case filed by Musharraf in 2015 against the rejection of his nomination papers in the 2013 general elections. Musharraf has not visited Pakistan since leaving for Dubai in March 2016.

In today's hearing, Musharraf's lawyer asked the chief justice to issue a written order saying that the former president must not be arrested if he arrives in Pakistan. "Tell Musharraf to come to Pakistan," replied the CJP, adding that the former military dictator will not be arrested upon his arrival.

The lawyer then told the CJP that Musharraf's nomination papers had not been accepted in earlier elections. At this, Justice Nisar said that if the former army chief submits his nomination papers, they will be received by the returning officer.

However, for his nominations papers to be considered, Musharraf would have to appear in person at the SC Lahore registry on June 13.

This development comes a day after the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) secretary general Mohammad Amjad told a group of journalists that Musharraf — who is the president of the APML — will return after Eid.

Amjad said that Musharraf would give the exact date of his return after the announcement of a decision by the Supreme Court on his appeal regarding disqualification.

“The former president will return even if his appeal is rejected. He will lead the party during elections. We will announce our candidates in a few days,” he said.

Case history

The former military ruler had filed his nomination papers to contest for a National Assembly seat – NA-250 Karachi (South). But the returning officer had rejected the papers on the grounds that he had held in abeyance and suspended the Constitution on Nov 3, 2007, detained and removed a number of superior court judges and publicly insulted then chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

Gen Musharraf had filed an appeal in an election tribunal in Karachi which was dismissed on April 16, 2013. The judgment in the case was authored by now Sindh High Court Chief Justice Faisal Arab and Justice Munib Akhtar.

Consequently, Gen Musharraf had instituted an appeal before the SHC which met the same fate through a short order on April 18, 2013, and a detailed judgment issued on Feb 14, 2015.