Pakistan military angered by treatment of Musharraf: reports

ISLAMABAD Wed May 1, 2013 2:24am EDT

1 of 2. Then Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf (C) inspects a guard of honor before leaving the presidential house after his resignation in Islamabad in this August 18, 2008 file photograph.

Credit: Reuters/Mian Khursheed/Files

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ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan's powerful army chief has suggested the military is unhappy with how authorities have treated former army chief and president Pervez Musharraf since his return from exile.

A Pakistani court on Tuesday imposed a lifetime ban on Musharraf from contesting elections, undermining his efforts to regain influence by winning a seat in parliament.

The former army chief returned in March after nearly four years of self-imposed exile to contest a May 11 general election, but election officers disqualified him because of court cases pending against him.

In what newspapers described as a veiled reference to Musharraf's legal troubles, Army Chief General Ashfaq Kayani said: "In my opinion, it is not merely retribution, but awareness and participation of the masses that can truly end this game of hide and seek between democracy and dictatorship."

Kayani, arguably the most powerful figure in Pakistan, was delivering a Martyrs' Day speech at army headquarters. Newspapers carried his comments on front pages.

The military has ruled Pakistan for than half of its 66-year-history, through coups or from behind the scenes. It sets security and foreign policy, even when civilian governments are in power.

Current commanders have meddled less in politics, letting civilian governments take the heat for policy failures.

But Kayani has had an uneasy relationship with civilian leaders, as well as an increasingly interventionist Supreme Court, which has questioned the military's human rights record.

The chief justice, Iftikhar Chaudhry, was embroiled in a confrontation with Musharraf, who removed him from office in 2007 after he opposed plans to extend the general's stay in power. Chaudhry was later reinstated.

Musharraf's has been embroiled in legal issues since his return.

He became the first former army chief to be arrested in Pakistan when police took him into custody at their headquarters last Friday, breaking an unwritten rule that the top ranks of the military are untouchable, even after they have retired.

On April 20, a court remanded the former president in custody for two weeks, a term set to expire on May 4, as judges pushed ahead with plans to put Musharraf on trial for a crackdown on the judiciary during his time in office.

On Tuesday, an anti-terrorism court in the garrison city of Rawalpindi put Musharraf on 14-day judicial remand for charges of failing to provide adequate security for former prime minister Benazir Bhutto before her 2007 assassination.

Musharraf ousted then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a coup in 1999. Sharif is seen as the front-runner in the election.

(Editing by Robert Birsel)

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Comments (11)
zohaibakr92 wrote:
This was bound to happen to him as long as we have the corrupt system in place. They say he wasn’t allowed to take part in these elections because of court cases pending against him, I ask, what about Nawaz Sharif’s pending cases, what about Zardari’s, what about all the other politicians that have been proven corrupt and still are allowed to contest elections. Why is it that this sort of scrutiny is being done for Musharraf only and not the others? Musharraf may had made some mistakes, however, he wasn’t as bad as Nawaz Sharif, Benazir Bhutto and Zardari. Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri was right all along and now we need to do something to change this system.

May 01, 2013 11:33am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Can you please stop misguiding your readers.
This article in Reuters needs some correction.
Pervez Musharraf did NOT remove Iftikhar Chaudhry
during his time,he forwarded a complaint to the Higher Courts which took action against Iftikhar Chaudhry for abusing his powers and being involved in various proven corruption cases.

May 01, 2013 11:46am EDT  --  Report as abuse
skarshad wrote:
Thanks for your report. However, how did you come to this conclusion at the end of your short report , “Sharif is seen as the front-runner in the election.” Just because you wrote it, should we believe it? This scenario maybe applied to any of the other candidates or the parties running for the next election of 2013 in Pakistan. I felt that it was a biased statement and especially from Reuters.

May 01, 2013 3:06pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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