- New party chairman Dr Amjad says former dictator stepped down after SC refused to let him contest polls
ISLAMABAD: Former military dictator General (r) Pervez Musharraf has resigned as the chairman of his own party, the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML).
The former president has sent his resignation to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
Musharraf founded APML in 2010. Despite the party announcing the boycott of the 2013 election just days before the balloting, two of its candidates still contested and won two seats from Chitral.
APML leader Dr Muhammad Amjad told reporters on Friday that the former president had tendered his resignation to the party on June 18 due to the Peshawar High Court’s 2013 verdict which had disqualified him from politics for life.
That verdict has been challenged on Musharraf’s behalf in the Supreme Court, which had issued a directive earlier this month allowing him to file his nomination papers only if he returned and was present in the court hearing on June 13 in Lahore, cautioning that the fate of the papers would be subject to the final decision in the present case.
Although Musharraf’s representatives had submitted his nomination papers for Chitral’s NA-1 seat, the former military strongman failed to return to Pakistan after which the SC withdrew its directive allowing nomination papers to be filed.
Before withdrawing the interim order, the CJP asked Musharraf’s counsel Malik Qamar Afzal if his client would appear before court or not. Musharraf’s lawyer replied that he (Musharraf) would not be able to appear.
Afzal said that he had personally contacted Musharraf on phone and asked him about his return, but Musharraf had told him that although he wanted to come back, he was unable to because of various reasons. He quoted Musharraf citing Eid and unspecified ‘present circumstances’ as reasons for his inability to return and urged the court for more time.
In response, Chief Justice Nisar remarked: “Then we (the court) withdraw the earlier interim order, allowing him to file nomination papers.”
Musharraf explained that he had put off his return after the SC order forced him to change his mind.
Speaking to journalists via video link, the former president said the apex court order “barring the authorities from arresting me till my appearance before the august court has forced me to rethink my plans about return”.
“There will be no benefit of my return to the country if I am arrested just after my appearance before the court,” he said.
“The entire world knows that I am not a coward, but now I will wait for an appropriate time to return,” he claimed.
Subsequently, Musharraf resigned from APML chairmanship, and also sent his resignation to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
After he stepped down, the party’s Central Executive Committee elected secretary general Dr Amjad as their new leader, with Mehreen Malik Adam set to serve as secretary general. Dr Amjad will now be directing all party affairs and deciding APML’s role in the upcoming general elections.