News / Asia

Musharraf’s Bid to Seek Pakistani Parliament Seat Denied

Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, speaks during a press conference in Karachi, Pakistan, Mar. 31, 2013.
Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, speaks during a press conference in Karachi, Pakistan, Mar. 31, 2013.
Sharon Behn
— Election officials have rejected nomination papers filed in one constituency by Pakistan's former military leader, Pervez Musharraf, for national elections expected on May 11. The rejection of former General Musharraf's filing is just one of many vetos that election officials have made against potential candidates they find to be unsuitable.

Spurred on by the Election Commission of Pakistan, election officials have been scrutinizing every candidate's nomination papers for false information, tax evasion or evidence they have violated Pakistan's constitution.

- 1943: Born August 11
- 1998: Becomes general, chief of army staff
- 1999: Seizes power in coup
- 2001: Appoints himself president
- 2007: Steps down as chief of army staff
- 2008: Resigns presidency amid impeachment threats
Two articles of the constitution exclude any candidates who have worked against the integrity or ideology of the country, are in debt, have been convicted of acting in a way prejudicial to Pakistan, or have been found guilty of moral turpitude.

The rejection by one constituency of Musharraf's nomination papers may stall his attempt to regain national political leadership. However, the former president's spokeswoman, Asia Ishaq, says a team of lawyers will appeal the case to the country's highest court.

"We are going to plead that article 62 or 63 of the constitution cannot be implemented by the Election Commission of Pakistan until and unless the person in the case is convicted by any court of law, and President Musharraf has never been convicted by any court of law in any case," she said.

Musharraf returned to Pakistan in March from four years in exile. Musharraf said he resigned as president because political forces that won the elections in 2008 had threatened to impeach him, and a few months later he left Pakistan.

Several criminal cases still pending in Pakistan link Musharraf to the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and another nationally prominent political figure. The former president has repeatedly denied those charges, and his legal advisers managed to arrange bail before he returned home to Pakistan.

The election commission's Afzal Khan said earlier that strict scrutiny of candidates' nominating petitions is one of a number of measures being applied to ensure fair elections.

"We are not going to be distracted from our main national mission and objective: That is, holding of the country's best, cleanest, intimidation-free, fairest election, the election in which the loser will say, yes they have lost, but genuinely. We are not going to succumb to any pressure," said Khan.

Senator Saeed Ghani says the actions of the lower-level officials who review nominating petitions are questionable, and he believes the Election Commission is distancing itself from their actions.

"We are not against the scrutiny of the papers, but the questions raised by the returning officers, relating to the religious faith and whether the candidate is offering five times prayer or not [praying five times daily], and how many wives he has, and if he have more than one wife how he can justify the responsibility. So I think this [is] ridiculous because this is nothing to do with election or the candidature of a person," said the senator.

Already, dozens of candidates out of the roughly 1,000 vying for provincial or federal office have been rejected for lying about their academic degrees. One other had his nomination thrown out for allegedly stealing water.

Columnist and former lawmaker Ayaz Amir had his nomination papers turned down because an official checking his documents said some of his writings had violated the constitution.

"The complaint was that in my columns I had touched upon sensitive matters like the ideology of Pakistan, and there was a mention of, I think, drinking in one of my columns or in more than one column, so that was the complaint brought against me," he said.

Amir says the articles are constitutional, but he questions the abilities of the officers who interpret and enforce them. He says he will appeal his case.

The May 11 elections are seen as historic in Pakistan, since they mark the first civilian to civilian transfer of power via the ballot box in the country's history.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid