Pak Oppn threatens to resign for amended rules

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Islamabad, Sep 17: Opposition parties in Pakistan have expressed outrage over the amendment to election rules to facilitate President Pervez Musharraf's bid to seek re-election, threatening to resign from the National and Provincial Assemblies.

Leaders of the All Parties Democratic Movement (APDM), a grouping of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) and small regional parties, which met here yesterday, termed ''a clear violation of the Constitution'' the amendment barring the returning officer from rejecting nomination papers, the Daily Times reported.

''The amendment to the rules barring the returning officer from rejecting nomination papers has been made to benefit an individual and we condemn it,'' Raja Zafarul Haq, convener of the Joint Action Committee of the APDM and chairman of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) said.

''The APDM component parties have decided to resign from the national as well as provincial assemblies to block Gen Musharraf's re-election. All APDM parties will quit the assemblies and launch a mass protest movement the day President Musharraf's nomination papers are accepted by the Election Commission of Pakistan,'' Mr Haq added.

Mr Haq also informed that Benazir Bhutto-led Pakistan Peoples Party had contacted his party for the revival of the Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy (ARD).

The PML-N chairman said the alliance of over 30 opposition parties would hold rallies and public meetings on September 21 in protest against the deportation of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, arrest of APDM leaders and ''police brutality'' against PML-N workers on September 10.

MMA chief Qazi Hussain Ahmed also asserted said that the alliance would quit its government in NWFP and coalition government in Balochistan. He said Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who heads a Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam faction, would abide by the decisions taken by the APDM.

However, rejecting the opposition move Information Minister Mohammad Ali Durrani said en-masse resignations would only cause the APDM embarrassment.

''The politics of resignations is failed politics,'' Mr Durrani was quoted by the paper as saying.


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