Islamabad: Pakistan’s former military ruler and dictator Pervez Musharraf on Friday resigned as the chief of All Pakistan Muslim League, days after the Supreme Court barred him from contesting in the July 25 general elections. Musharraf, 74, sent his resignation as chairman of the APML party to the Election Commission of Pakistan. The move comes days after the Supreme Court withdrew an interim relief given to Musharraf to allow him to submit his nomination papers as the Dubai-based former dictator failed to appear before the court.
Despite multiple assurances from the chief justice, Musharraf failed to appear before the court resulting in the cancellation of his conditional nomination. Muhammad Amjad, previously the general secretary of the party, has been elevated to the position of chairman. He will now be in-charge of all party affairs and will decide the APML’s role in the July 25 general elections.
Before withdrawing the interim order, the chief justice asked Musharraf’s counsel Malik Qamar Afzal if his client would appear before court or not. Musharraf’s lawyer replied that he would not be able to appear. Afzal said that he had personally contacted Musharraf on phone and asked him about his return, but the former army chief had told him that although he wanted to come back, he was unable to because of various reasons.
He quoted Musharraf citing Eid and unspecified ‘present circumstances’ as reasons for his inability to return and urged the court for more time. “There will be no benefit of my return to the country if I am arrested just after my appearance before the court,” Musharraf said recently.
“The entire world knows that I am not a coward, but now I will wait for an appropriate time to return,” he told the media via a video link. Musharraf has been residing in Dubai since March 2016 after leaving the county on medical grounds. He is facing a high-profile treason case and has been declared absconder due to his persistent failure to appear before the special trial court set up to try him in the case.
The former president was indicted in March 2014 on treason charges for imposing emergency in the country which led to the confinement of a number of superior court judges in their houses and sacking of over 100 judges. A conviction for high-profile treason carries the death penalty or life imprisonment. Musharraf has sought adequate security from the government for his return from the UAE to appear before a special Pakistani court in the treason case. Musharraf ruled Pakistan from 1999 to 2008.