Musharraf to run for Pakistani parliament elections

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The party of Pakistan's former President General Pervez Musharraf announced Saturday that he will run for a seat in parliament in July 25 national elections.

The move comes after the country's Supreme Court conditionally allowed Musharraf to return from Dubai, where he has been living in self-exile to avoid arrest on criminal charges. Musharraf's party said he will campaign for a seat representing the northern town of Chitral.

Also on Saturday, the party of popular longtime opposition politician Imran Khan said he will run for a seat in the National Assembly, which was dissolved May 31 upon completing its five-year term. Khan is seeking to become the next prime minister.

Khan's party is expected to face a tough challenge from candidates backed by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who was disqualified in July by the Supreme Court on corruption charges. Sharif himself cannot participate in the vote as he has been disqualified to hold public office.

Meanwhile, ousted Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday questioned the Supreme Court directive.

Speaking to the media, Sharif said “How could the Chief Justice extend such an offer to someone accused of high treason?”

“This is something which is beyond my understanding. While Musharraf has been offered such a relaxation, my plea for just three days exemption from appearing in court was turned down.”

The party of former President Asif Ali Zardari is also fielding candidates across the country in hopes of getting a majority in parliament. Zardari has said he will run for a seat representing southern Sindh province.

The July 25 elections for seats in the National Assembly and four provincial legislatures will be supervised by the interim government of caretaker Prime Minister Nasir-ul-Mulk, a former chief justice who has said he will ensure free and fair elections.

The party that wins a majority in parliament will name the next prime minister.

Most of Pakistan's political parties want Musharraf arrested. He has not set any date for his return, but the court wants him back before June 13 to avoid arrest in connection with several criminal cases pending against him.

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