Pakistan blocks Musharraf from contesting election

ISLAMABAD (AFP) - Pakistan's former military ruler Pervez Musharraf was on Tuesday barred from running for parliament, officials said, just a day after he unveiled his party manifesto for historic elections next month.

It was the latest humiliating blow to the retired general who returned home last month after four years of self-imposed exile, promising to "save" the nuclear-armed country from economic malaise and rampant insecurity.

The 69-year-old, who faces Taleban death threats, applied to run for parliament in four seats but was rejected immediately from all but the northern district of Chitral.

Lawyers appealed against his approval in Chitral, part of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, and a court official in provincial capital Peshawar, said Mr Musharraf's nomination had been thrown out on the grounds that he violated the constitution by imposing emergency rule in 2007.

"His paper has been rejected by the high court. We will file an appeal in the Supreme Court," Mr Musharraf's lawyer Ahmed Raza Kasuri told AFP.

The Supreme Court is hearing a separate petition from lawyers demanding that Mr Musharraf, who ruled Pakistan from 1999-2008, face trial for treason.

He also faces court proceedings over the killing of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in 2007, a rebel from the region of Baluchistan in 2006, and for sacking judges when he imposed emergency rule.

Mr Kasuri said Tuesday's decision was an insult to "an internationally known person".

"The world will see what democracy we have," he said.