Islamabad, Sep 16: The Election Commission of Pakistan has amended the Presidential Election Rules 1988 ahead of the elections so that Article 63 of the Constitution no longer applies to the President.
Article 63 lays down various conditions under which a person can be disqualified from being a Member of Parliament.
With the amendment in clause (a), sub-rule (3) of rule 5 of the Presidential Election Rules 1988, the returning officer can no longer conduct an inquiry or reject any nomination paper if the candidate is subject to disqualification from being elected as, or from being, a MP as provided in Article 63.
Earlier, this clause allowed the returning officer to conduct such an inquiry or reject nomination papers of a candidate if that candidate was not qualified under the Constitution to be elected as President, or was subject to disqualification from being elected as a member of the National Assembly.
Now the words "or is subject to any disqualification from being elected as, and from being, a member of the National Assembly" have been omitted from this rule.
The Chief Election Commissioner amended the rules with the approval of President Pervez Musharraf, the Daily Times reported.
Commenting on the amendment, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Dr Sher Afgan Niazi said "under the Supreme Court"s decisions in the Qazi Hussain Ahmad case of 2002 and the Pakistan Lawyers Forum case of 2005, Article 63 is not applicable to the President in toto".
He said the qualification for a person to become President was determined in Article 41.