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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed former president retd Gen Pervez Musharraf to file his nomination papers to contest July 25 general elections on the condition that he would appear in person before the court on June 13 in Lahore to attend the court hearing.

The directive was issued by a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar which had taken up retd Gen Musharraf’s plea against his disqualification by the Peshawar High Court (PHC) in 2013.

The court assured Qamar Afzal advocate, who was representing the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) chief, that he would not be arrested by the authorities the moment he landed in Pakistan, but also cautioned that the fate of the nomination papers would be subject to final decision of the present case.

The high court in April 2013 had disqualified retd Gen Musharraf for life in view of the July 31, 2009 judgement in which Nov 3, 2007 emergency was declared illegal.

The former military ruler will have to ensure his appearance in court on 13th

In his appeal, retd Gen Musharraf had pleaded before the Supreme Court to set aside the PHC order, stating that in it he was condemned unheard without due process of law.

The petition questioned whether by declaring retd Gen Musharraf disqualified from contesting elections for the National Assembly, provincial assemblies or Senate or holding a public office, the court had not failed at the touchstone of legal and constitutional parameters settled by the constitution and human rights declarations.

Criticising the July 31, 2009 judgement, the petition asked whether the verdict could be deemed a conviction to bring home disqualification under Article 62 of the Constitution when the order was pronounced in declaratory jurisdiction in absentia.

It argued that the right to participate in and contest election was a fundamental right and any restriction to curtail the same amounted to violating constitutional rights and that the impugned judgement reflected the failure to exercise the constitutional jurisdiction under Article 199 of the Constitution.

The petition questioned whether not imposition of a life-time disqualification and ineligibility was an excessive exercise of judicial authority that failed to the test of a constitutional judgement.

Talking to Dawn after the hearing, APML secretary general Dr Muhammad Amjad said retd Gen Musharraf was expected to return to Pakistan soon and contest elections from four constituencies namely Chitral, Karachi, Jhang and Gwadar.

Published in Dawn, June 8th, 2018