In what could be setback to former Pakistan president Parvez Musharraf’s plan to return to politics, a Pakistani court has admitted a petition to declare his regime as unconstitutional and to remove his name from the list of the country’s presidents. The petitioner is no lesser person than former president Rafique Tarar.
Tarar’s petition, which was admitted by Lahore High Court Chief Justice Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhry Monday, said that he (Tarar) should be considered the constitutional President for the period that Musharraf’s regime was in power. Musharraf came to power in a military coup in 1999 by overthrowing the PML-N government led by former premier Nawaz Sharif. Tarar was the President at that time and continued till Musharaff took over in 2001.
The Chief Justice overruled an objection raised by the court’s registrar to admit Tarar’s petition, which said directions should be issued to authorities to remove all references to Musharraf in public and official records that described him as the President. The court’s registrar had earlier raised a technical objection to the petition and asked Tarar to file it at the Islamabad High Court. A date for the hearing of the petition is yet to be fixed by the court. Tarar said in his petition that he had taken oath as President on January 1, 1998. In October 1999, the elected government was toppled but he continued to hold the office of President.
Tarar asked the court to declare that he had never resigned from the office of President and continued in the position till Asif Ali Zardari took oath as President in 2008. He further asked the court to declare that Musharraf was not entitled to any privileges as he was not an elected President.