Islamabad, Sep 27 (UNI) Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan Peoples Party today filed nomination papers of its presidential candidate Makhdoom Amin Fahim with the Election Commission.
Top PPP leaders including Safdar Abbasi, Raja Pervez Ashraf and Babar Awan submitted nomination papers of their party candidate while Mr Fahim accompanied them to the Commission.
Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz had filed President Pervez Musharraf's papers while another candidate Wajihuddin Ahmad himself visited the Election Commission to file his nomination papers.
The nomination papers were filed a day ahead of the possible decision by the Supreme Court on a raft of petitions challenging the Parliamentary Act of 2004 that allowed General Pervez Musharraf to hold dual offices of the Chief of the Army as well as President of Pakistan.
The All Parties Democratic Movement (APDM) has already announced that its legislators in federal and provincial assemblies will resign en bloc the day Musharraf's nomination papers were accepted.
The Lawyers' community, which has fielded Wajihuddin Ahmad, a retired Supreme Court judge as their candidate for presidential elections, will also observe Black Day on September 29, when the nomination papers are to be serutinised.
"All opposition parties must develop a platform for a joint struggle," Mr Fahim told reporters here, adding that the APDM has divided the opposition parties.
He also thanked the party chairperson Benazir Bhutto for nominating him as a presidential candidate of the party.
PPP central leader Raja Pervez Ashraf, talking to media outside the Election Commission, called Amin Fahim a strong presidential candidate.
According to Election Commission, a total of 14 presidential candidates filed their nomination papers in Islamabad on today.
They are: General Pervez Musharraf, Justice (retd) Wajihuddin Ahmed, Makhdoom Amin Fahim, Mohammedmian Soomro, Chaudhry Amir Hussain, Latif Butt, Sayed Iqtidar Hyder, Maj (retd) Muhammad Ramzan, Chaudhry Javed Mahmood Sahi, Altaf Hussain Bukhari, Khursheed Anwar, Shaukat Hussain, Rai Javed Ali Khan and Ayaz Khan.
A heavy contingent of police and paramilitary Rangers were deployed on Constitution avenue that houses the Election Commission and other important buildings including those of Supreme Court and President's House.
Activists of leading opposition parties were not allowed to go to Election Commission in a bid to prevent protest rallies. All major roads connecting neighbouring Rawalpindi city with Islamabad were heavily guarded.
In a related development, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry in a suo motu notice, today summoned city administration officials for an explanation about blockade of roads.
He also ordered authorities to release all political leaders and activists, arrested during crackdowns last week.
A senior government lawyer said authorities would soon free acting chief of Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) Makhdoom Javed Hashmi and another 36 leaders and activists of different parties from a Rawalpindi jail soon.