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Pervez Musharraf out of Pakistan election race

Pervez Musharraf out of Pakistan election race

Islamabad: Quashing his political ambitions, a Pakistani election tribunal on Tuesday barred former military dictator Pervez Musharraf from running for parliament in the only constituency where his nomination papers for the May 11 general elections had been accepted.

Musharraf's bid to enter parliament ended almost a month before the general election when an election tribunal rejected his candidature for a parliamentary seat in Chitral - the only constituency where his nomination papers had been accepted.

Musharraf, 69, had plans to contest polls in four parliamentary seats in Chitral, Karachi, Kasur and Islamabad.

Earlier in the day, two other election tribunals barred Musharraf from contesting polls from constituencies in Islamabad and Kasur in Punjab province.

The tribunals comprising high court judges upheld decisions by Returning Officers to reject Musharraf's nomination papers for the National Assembly constituencies.

The new developments came a day after another election tribunal dismissed Musharraf's appeal against the rejection of his nomination papers for a parliamentary constituency in the southern port city of Karachi.

Today, the tribunal, comprising of judges of the Peshawar High Court, accepted appeals from five of Musharraf's rivals against the acceptance of his nominations by the Returning Officer in Chitral district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

The rivals had contended that Musharraf cannot contest the elections as he had violated the Constitution by imposing emergency rule in 2007.

Musharraf had filed appeals in the tribunals against the Returning Officers' decisions but these were rejected.

The Returning Officers had rejected Musharraf's nomination papers after receiving objections to his candidature on the ground that he had violated the Constitution.

Though his papers were accepted in Chitral, his rivals filed objections against his candidature.

The former dictator has been facing numerous political and legal challenges since he returned to Pakistan last month after nearly four years in self-exile.

During an interaction with the media at his farmhouse in Islamabad yesterday, Musharraf had said he he was ready to go to jail if the courts ordered it.

He was responding to questions about cases filed against him over the steps he had taken after imposing emergency rule in 2007.

The Supreme Court is currently hearing several petitions seeking his trial for treason.

However, Musharraf claimed he had only acted in the best interest of Pakistan by imposing emergency.

Pakistan will go to the polls on May 11 to choose new national and provincial assemblies, marking the first democratic transition in the country's 66-year history.

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