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Musharraf party to boycott Pakistan election

All Muslim Party announces move in protest over court's decision to ban ex-military chief from contesting elections.

Last Modified: 03 May 2013 17:49
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Musharraf's party says it will boycott vote because it believes the election will not be

The party of Pervez Musharraf, a former Pakistani military ruler who is facing a barrage of legal cases over his time in power, has announced it will boycott next week's historic election.

A spokeswoman for the All Party Muslim League told the AFP news agency that the decision was taken after a court on Tuesday banned Musharraf, who is being held under house arrest over the 2007 murder of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto among other charges, from contesting elections for the rest of his life.

The retired general has been humiliated since returning in March from self-imposed exile to run in the upcoming general elections.

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

"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and fair election is not possible, so we have decided to boycott it," she said, adding that 170 party candidates had withdrawn.

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.

He is also facing charges for sacking judges in 2007 when he imposed emergency rule and over the 2006 death of a Baluch rebel leader.

He has also been threatened with death by the Taliban.

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.

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