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KARACHI, March 26: The Sindh High Court on Tuesday allowed the application of retired Gen Pervez Musharraf for the urgent hearing of his petition that was filed to obtain pre-arrival bail before arrest in cases pertaining to the murder of Nawab Akbar Bugti and former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

A division bench headed by Justice Sajjad Ali Shah that had earlier granted the former army ruler bail in the two murder cases for two weeks fixed the hearing for March 29 as his attorney prayed to the court to allow his client to surrender before this court.

Advocate A.Q. Halepota, appearing for Gen Musharraf, submitted that his client had arrived in the city on March 24 and may be permitted to surrender before this court on March 29.The same bench had earlier on March 21 granted the former president protective bail in the sum of Rs100,000 for 15 days in the Bugti and Bhutto murder cases without touching on the merits of case.

Gen Musharraf, former prime minister Shaukat Aziz, former interior minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao and Balochistan’s former governor Owais Ghani among others were nominated in a case registered by Jameel Akbar Bugti regarding the murder of his father in August 2006.

Gen Musharraf was also declared an absconder in the assassination case of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto by an anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi.

He was also given bail in the Supreme Court judges’ confinement case for 10 days by another SHC bench headed by Chief Justice Mushir Alam.

PPP’s petition against delimitation

A division bench headed by Justice Maqbool Baqar issued notices to the chief and provincial elections commissioners and the revenue secretary to submit their replies in a petition of a PPP leader against the delimitation of 11 national and provincial assembly constituencies in Karachi.

Petitioner Abdul Qadir Patel, who is also PPP’s city president, submitted that the Election Commission of Pakistan had issued a notification for delimitation of three NA constituencies, including NA-239 Karachi West-II.

He stated that the he had emerged victorious from the NA-239 in the 2008 general elections and he was dissatisfied with the impugned notification.

The petitioner, represented by Advocate G.N. Qureshi, submitted that it was obligatory for the ECP to take all stakeholders on board before undertaking an exercise of delimitation and issuing the notification in this regard.

However, he said, the ECP without taking the stakeholders on board delimited the constituencies in the presence of the secretary of the ECP and the Sindh chief secretary.

Petitioner Patel stated that he was not against the delimitation process as directed by the Supreme Court; rather he was supporting delimitation in the city.

He said that he approached the ECP time and again for redrawing of the electoral boundaries as some union councils were added to the his constituency (NA-239) illogically in 2008.

He asked the court to declare the impugned notification void ab initio and illegal and direct the ECP to take all stakeholders on board before undertaking any exercise of delimitation of the constituencies in the city.

The court issued notices to the respondents and put off the hearing to Wednesday (today).