Peshawar High Court has imposed a lifetime ban on former president Gen (rtd) Pervez Musharraf from contesting elections, which is being seen as an ultimate blow ever since his return from exile. This has put paid to his wish of staging a comeback, at least for now. The PHC issued the ban on Tuesday while hearing an appeal by the general’s lawyer seeking permission to allow him to contest the upcoming 2013 elections. Musharraf is accused of putting senior judges and their families under house arrest and besides he twice abrogated the country's constitution, the PHC Chief Justice Dost Mohammad Khan said while reading out the order. His legal team, is planning to go to the Supreme Court to challenge PHC’s decision on the plea that their client should not be singled out for punishment for his actions since several other persons were equally involved. The question being asked in military and political circles is whether the ruling was precise in declaring a citizen ineligible for running for a political office. It has never happened before. General Musharraf returned to Pakistan in March nurturing the ambition to contest May 11 general election after ending his four-year self exile. Earlier, he had formed his own party All Pakistan Muslim League and later announced several dates for his return. Each time he found one excuse or another to postpone his journey back home. As of today, the irony of fate is that a court has remanded him in custody for two weeks and the new deadline of May 14 means that former general will be in jail on May 11 when the nation would go to polls.
Media reports suggest that Musharraf’s friends here and abroad are pulling rank to secure his release. There is talk of yet another exile. A delegation of former military generals had a meeting with him at his Chak Shahzad’s farm house and consulted him on their proposal. Musharraf is reported to have agreed. However, the selection of former generals do not reflect the law or the wishes of the nation to see a dictator tried for usurping the constitution. It is not and should not be the former generals’ call, as to whether Musharraf should flee or stand trial. That is up to the courts.