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Musharraf halted from running for parliament, lawyer says

By CNN Staff
updated 2:49 PM EDT, Tue April 16, 2013
A supporter of former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf places banners at the party office in Islamabad on April 16, 2013.
A supporter of former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf places banners at the party office in Islamabad on April 16, 2013.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Musharraf will challenge decision
  • He faces three court cases
  • The former president had been in exile after leaving Pakistan

(CNN) -- Election officials in Pakistan barred former President Pervez Musharraf from running for a parliament seat, his lawyer said Tuesday.

"We will challenge it in the Supreme Court to show the world (the) biased attitude of the judiciary against Musharraf," Ahmed Raza Qasoori told CNN.

Musharraf resigned as president of the south Asian nation five years ago and went into exile in London and Dubai. He returned to Pakistan recently, saying he planned to contest three court cases and run in upcoming elections.

The former president faces accusations in a Karachi court that he illegally deposed and detained 62 senior judges during a period of emergency rule he imposed six years ago.

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He is also accused of not doing enough to protect the life of Benazir Bhutto, the country's first woman to be elected prime minister of Pakistan. She was assassinated on December 27, 2007, after leaving a campaign rally in Rawalpindi, just two weeks before the general election. She was the leading opposition candidate facing off against Musharraf.

In the third case, he is charged with ordering his troops to kill Nawab Akbar Bugti, a popular tribal leader in the volatile province of Balochistan, in 2006.

He had been disqualified from running because he declared a state of emergency in 2007. Even though he hasn't been tried for that action, the move had been ruled an act of treason, making him ineligible to run for office.

Musharraf maintains he should not be barred because he has not been convicted of any criminal acts.

In his final years of president, he made many enemies

Some Pakistanis are happy to see the return of the ex-military ruler, hoping his leadership would help to restore order to a country riddled with political division and plagued by extremist violence.

But he also made many enemies in the final years of his presidency. The Pakistan Taliban have vowed to send a death squad to target the former president, if he returns to the country.

Musharraf has said he has been living under threats of death since September 11, 2001, when he supported the American war on terror and targeted the Taliban.

Musharraf was ultimately granted a bail extension on the three cases. He was initially granted "protective" bail to ward off potential arrest when he returned to the country.

The former general became president after a bloodless coup in 1999.

Musharraf's popularity began declining in 2007, after he suspended the nation's Supreme Court chief justice for "misuse of authority." The move resulted in protests and accusations that he was attempting to influence the court's ruling on whether he could seek another five-year term.

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