Presidential polls in Pakistan on October 6

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Islamabad, Sep 20 (UNI) The Presidential election in Pakistan would be held on October 6 in which Gen Pervez Musharraf will leave no stone unturned to get re-elected.

Chief Election Commissioner Justice (Rtd) Qazi Muhammad Farooque approved the schedule for presidential election in a meeting here today.

The last date for filing nominations is September 27. Scrutiny of papers would be held on September 29 and the last date of withdrawal is October 1, a Commission notification said.

A joint session of Senate and National Assembly will be held in the Parliament House on October 6. Polling for the election will be held at national and provincial assemblies from 1000 hrs to 1500 hrs on October 6.

The Chief Election Commissioner will be the Returning Officer for the polls.

President Musharraf will be seeking re-election from present Assemblies against the backdrop of a set of applications pending before the Supreme Court against the military ruler holding two offices and his eligibility to seek a second term.

Gen Musharraf has already submitted before the apex court that he will quit as Army chief if he gets re-elected as President, a pledge which many Opposition parties doubt he would keep.

The political turmoil in the country has also made these elections crucial as two former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto -- who lead the two biggest political outfits in the country -- were living in exile.

PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif was deported for a second time to Saudi Arabia when he tried to return on September 10.

On the other hand, PPP chief Benazir Bhutto, who has announced October 18 as her date of return to the country, has expressed her displeasure over Gen Musharraf seeking re-election without doffing uniform, which she claims was contrary to the negotiations she had with government representatives.

She had indicated that her party may also join the Opposition alliance -- APDM -- in resigning from the National and Provincial Assemblies, which form the electoral college for the Presidential elections, if her demands were not met.

In an apparent move to facilitate Gen Musharraf's bid to seek re-election, the Election Commission had amended the rules for Presidential polls, making the various conditions for being a parliamentarian no longer applicable to the President.

Thus the Returning Officer for the election has been stripped of the power to conduct a summary inquiry or reject any nomination paper if the candidate is subject to disqualification from being elected as, or from being, a member of parliament as provided in Article 63 of the Constitution.

The move triggered angry reactions from Opposition parties who termed it an ''utter violation of the Constitution.'' Military Chief Gen Musharraf took power ousting Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a bloodless coup on October 12, 1999. He assumed the title of Chief Executive and later elected President in 2004.

UNI

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