Musharraf not to divest uniform before re-election : Rashid

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Islamabad, Sep 21 (UNI) Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf will not doff his uniform if the present National and Provincial Assemblies were dissolved prior to his re-election, Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed has said.

However, if elected by the present assemblies, Gen Musharraf will step down as Army chief before taking the oath of his office for a new term.

Mr Ahmed said the President will file his nomination papers after consultation with the Pakistan Muslim League leadership, adding that Gen Musharraf would contest the election in uniform but fulfil the commitment he had made to the Supreme Court.

''The country is passing through a crucial phase and all stakeholders are expected to behave positively,'' he said.

When pointed out that Gen Musharraf had not fulfilled his commitment to doff his uniform in the past, the Minister said, ''I believe things are now moving in right direction and the President will relinquish his post of army chief.'' He said if the Pakistan People's Party decides to abstain from the polls, it would be merely an act of ''face saving''.

He claimed that the Opposition's resignation from the Assemblies would have no impact if the Benazir Bhutto-led party did not join them.

''If the PPP members also resign from Parliament then there will be a question about the credibility of election,'' he said.

UNI

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