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Musharraf party to boycott Pakistan election

Islamabad, May 3, 2013, (AFP): 23:59 IST
Pervez Musharraf arrives at an anti-terrorism court in Islamabad, Pakistan. Gunmen shot to death the Pakistani government's lead prosecutor in a high-profile case involving Musharraf on Friday, May 3, as he drove to court in the capital Islamabad, police said. (AP Photo)
The party of former Pakistani military ruler Pervez Musharraf, who is facing a barrage of legal cases over his time in power, today announced it will boycott next week's historic election.

The retired general has been humiliated since returning in March from self-imposed exile to contest elections and is currently under house arrest.

A spokeswoman for the All Party Muslim League today told AFP that the decision was taken after a court on Tuesday banned the former ruler from contesting elections for the rest of his life.

"We were expecting justice from courts but instead they banned Pervez Musharraf for (his) whole life," Aasia Ishaque, information secretary for the party, told AFP.

"We think that under the present election commission, conduct of free and fair election is not possible, so we have decided to boycott it," she said, adding that 170 party candidates had withdrawn.

The decision to boycott the poll will likely have little effect on the outcome of the election, as the party had drummed up very little support.

Musharraf had promised to "save" the country from militancy and economic collapse but was barred from running as a candidate over charges dating back to his 1999-2008 rule.
Musharraf is being held under house arrest over the 2007 murder of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto and for sacking judges in 2007 when he imposed emergency rule.

In addition, he faces a third legal case over the 2006 death of a Baluch rebel leader and has been threatened with death by the Taliban.

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