Pakistans powerful army chief has suggested the military is unhappy with how authorities have treated former army chief and president Pervez Musharraf since his return from exile.
A Pakistani court on Tuesday imposed a lifetime ban on Musharraf from contesting elections,undermining his efforts to regain influence by winning a seat in parliament.
The former army chief returned in March after nearly four years of self-imposed exile to contest a May 11 general election,but election officers disqualified him because of court cases pending against him.
In what newspapers described as a veiled reference to Musharrafs legal troubles,Army Chief General Ashfaq Kayani said: In my opinion,it is not merely retribution,but awareness and participation of the masses that can truly end this game of hide and seek between democracy and dictatorship.
Kayani,arguably the most powerful figure in Pakistan,was delivering a Martyrs Day speech at army headquarters. Newspapers carried his comments on front pages.
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The military has ruled Pakistan for than half of its 66-year-history,through coups or from behind the scenes. It sets security and foreign policy,even when civilian governments are in power. Current commanders have meddled less in politics,letting civilian governments take the heat for policy failures.
But Kayani has had an uneasy relationship with civilian leaders,as well as an increasingly interventionist Supreme Court,which has questioned the militarys human rights record.
Musharrafs has been embroiled in legal issues since his return. He became the first former army chief to be arrested in Pakistan when police took him into custody at their headquarters last Friday,breaking an unwritten rule that the top ranks of the military are untouchable,even after they have retired.
Candidate survives bid to kill him,2 injured in suicide blast
Islamabad: A candidate contesting Pakistans general election had a narrow escape on Wednesday when a suicide bomber blew himself up near his motorcade in southern Sindh province,injuring two persons.
The attacker targeted National Peoples Party leader Ibrahim Jatois convoy at a toll plaza in Shikarpur area in the morning. Jatoi said he was not injured by the blast. Two of Jatois supporters were wounded and two vehicles in the motorcade were destroyed. Jatoi is contesting polls to a parliamentary seat in Shikarpur. Police confirmed the attack had been carried out by a suicide bomber.
In a separate incident,a car bomb went off near the motorcade of independent candidate Allahdino Umrani in Dera Murad Jamali region of Balochistan province. There were no reports of casualties from the blast. PTI