Musharraf files nomination papers, reaffirms commitment on uniform

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Islamabad, Sep 27 (UNI) Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf today filed his nomination papers for the October 6 presidential polls, reaffirming his commitment to doff his uniform after re-election to the highest post.

As many as 39 nominations were filed for the Presidential election by ten candidates. In all, 17 nomination papers were filed for President Musharraf. Five nominations were filed for Chaudhry Amir Hussain and two for Muhammedmian Soomro, who are cover candidates for Gen Musharraf. Three nominations each have been filed for Pakistan's legal fraternity's candidate Justice (retd) Wajihuddin and Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan Peoples Party's candidate Makhdoom Amin Fahim.

Other than these five candidates, nine individuals filed nomination papers in their capacity as citizens of Pakistan but some among them have not mentioned proposers and seconders on their nomination papers.

Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, accompanied by a number of senior ministers, filed the nomination papers before the Election Commission here on behalf of the President.

Mr Aziz proposed Gen Musharraf's name while it was seconded by Ghazi Gulab Jamal.

Soon after filing the papers at the Election Commission, Mr Aziz said, ''It is a historical day for Pakistan and for the future of democracy in the country.'' He said the successful re-election of Gen Musharraf would be in the best interest of the country and ensure country's continued journey toward progress and prosperity.

The Prime Minister while reiterating the government's resolve to ensure peaceful environment before and during the presidential election said the government would take necessary measures maintain a conducive environment. ''We will hold free, fair and transparent election and the people of Pakistan will be free to choose their future leadership,'' he added.

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.

Top PPP leaders including Safdar Abbasi, Raja Pervez Ashraf and Babar Awan submitted nomination papers of their party candidate Makhdoom Amin Fahim, who accompanied them to the Commission.

Justice (retd) Wajihuddin Ahmed, the candidate of Pakistan's legal fraternity visited Election commission to file his nomination papers.

He said he was contesting against President Musharraf ''in great national interest''.

He demanded direct presidential elections in the country, asserting, ''Lawyers can win if direct presidential elections are held in the country.'' Justice Wajihuddin claimed that the present government failed to provide jobs, education and pure drinking water to the people.

About 250 lawyers who accompanied Justice Wajihuddin, chanted slogans against the President and the Chief Election Commissioner.

They were also holding banners and placards. The Lawyers' community also pledged to observe Black Day on September 29, when the nomination papers would be scrutinised.

Unprecedented security measures were in place in view of the threat by the Opposition parties to besiege the Election Commission.

As many as five platoons of Pakistan Rangers, 2,000 personnel of Punjab Constabulary and the Elite Force were deployed at entry and exit points of the metropolis, especially at the Constitution Avenue, where the EC is situated.

Even private media was banned from entering the premises of the Commission. 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.

Speaking at an Iftar party last evening, attended by Ambassadors of various countries, Gen Musharraf reiterated that he would keep his commitment given to the Supreme Court on stepping down as Chief of Army Staff (COAS) after his re-election as President.

Pakistan Muslim League X X X Eds picking up here from line para para seven of DF6, ELECTION-MUSHARRAF-THIRD LEAD NOMINATION.

UNI

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