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Musharraf to run for parliament

Move comes after top court conditionally allows former military ruler to return to country

Islamabad: The party of Pakistan’s former military ruler Pervez Musharraf announced on Saturday that he will run for a seat in parliament in the July 25 national elections.

The move comes after the Supreme Court conditionally allowed Musharraf to return to the country from self-exile, a precaution he had taken 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 opposition firebrand Imran Khan said he will run for a seat in the National Assembly, which was dissolved on May 31 upon completing its five-year term.

Imran is aiming for the prime minister’s office. His party is expected to face a tough challenge from candidates backed by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who was disqualified from holding office in July by the Supreme Court on corruption charges.

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 the 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.

Musharraf seized power in 1999 by ousting the government of Sharif. In 2008, he was forced to resign after the party of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto came into power.

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