Pakistan President Gen. Pervez Musharraf cleared the main hurdle to his bid for another five years in power Friday when Pakistan's Supreme Court squashed legal challenges to the leader's increasingly unpopular and bitterly opposed candidacy.
Musharraf, a close U.S. ally, appeared set for victory in an Oct. 6 presidential ballot by national and provincial legislatures, where his supporters hold a majority. He has promised to resign as army chief if elected to a new five-year term, restoring civilian rule.
In its 6-3 ruling, the high court dismissed petitions filed by opposition parties and lawyers arguing that Musharraf could not be a candidate while retaining his heavyweight military post.
The ruling triggered jubilation in the government and anger among the opposition, which vowed to keep fighting to stop Musharraf. Some in the opposition threatened to have their lawmakers resign from Parliament in an attempt to rob the presidential vote of legitimacy.