Musharraf's party to boycott May 11 polls
The party of former Pakistan military ruler Pervez Musharraf, facing a series of legal cases over his actions while in power, has said it would...
The party of former Pakistan military ruler Pervez Musharraf, facing a series of legal cases over his actions while in power, has said it would boycott Pakistan's May 11 general election. The move came in the wake of the Peshawar High Court's order barring Musharraf from contesting polls for the rest of his life. Musharraf has also been arrested over the imposition of emergency rule in 2007, the assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto and the killing of Baloch leader Akbar Bugti in a 2006 military operation. Muhammad Amjad, the spokesman for Musharraf's All Pakistan Muslim League (APML), announced their party's boycott of the polls at a news conference here. "The rejection of Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf's nomination papers has resulted in this decision by the party," he said. "Musharraf will face all cases against him and will not run away from any charges," he said. All 170 candidates fielded by the APML had withdrawn from the polls, Amjad said. The 69-year-old former President has been humiliated since he returned to Pakistan from self-exile in March to contest elections. He is now being held in his farmhouse, which was declared a sub-jail after his arrest. On Tuesday, the Peshawar High Court banned Musharraf from contesting elections for the rest of his life. APML officials told media that they believe free and fair polls are not possible under the current Election Commission. Bilawal Bhutto leaves Pak, A not to return before polls Islamabad (PTI): Pakistan People's Party chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has left on a foreign trip and will not be present in the country when it goes to polls on May 11, according to a report. Bilawal, 24, will not address any rallies or meetings ahead of the general election due to threats to his life, sources in the PPP were quoted as saying in the report on the website of the Dawn newspaper. Senior PPP leader Taj Haider confirmed that consensus had been reached within the party and Bilawal had been advised not to lead the poll campaign due to serious security threats. "We have already lost Benazir Bhutto and will not risk losing Bilawal. "The threats to his life are very real," Haider said. Former premier Benazir Bhutto was killed in 2007 by a suicide bomber, just before the last general elections. Haider did not say where Bilawal was at the moment. However, the report quoted sources in PPP as saying that he had left Pakistan earlier this week and would not be returning before May 11. Custody extended An anti-terrorism court has ordered former military ruler Pervez Musharraf to remain in custody for a further two weeks ahead of his trial for unlawfully sacking judges during his rule, officials say. "Pervez Musharraf's remand is extended for judicial lock-up for 14 days, he should be presented before the court on May 18," Judge Kausar Abbas Zaidi, ordered on Saturday. Lawyers for Musharraf, who is locked in his own home, which has been declared a sub-jail while he is awaiting trial, filed a bail application in the court and the judge fixed a hearing for May 6. He also faces charges of conspiracy to murder opposition leader Benazir Bhutto in 2007 and over the death of a rebel leader during a 2006 military operation. The retired general has been humiliated since returning in March from self-imposed exile to contest elections. The May 11 polls for the national and regional assemblies mark the first time that a civilian government completes a full-term and hands over to another at the ballot box, in a country that has been ruled by the military for half its life. Pakistani police had on Friday arrested and interrogated beleaguered former President Pervez Musharraf over the killing of Baloch leader Akbar Bugti in a 2006 military operation, one of three high-profile cases that have dogged him since he returned to the country from self-exile. (Agencies)