6 candidates in fray for Pak Prez polls

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Islamabad, Sep 30: Six candidates are in the fray for presidential election in Pakistan, including President Pervez Musharraf, who will be seeking re-election in the October 6 polls.

The Election Commission cleared six candidates after scrutiny of papers yesterday.

Chief Election Commissioner Justice (retd) Qazi Farooq cleared all 17 papers of President Musharraf after scrutiny. Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz along with other proposers and seconders, including PML President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, PML Secretary General Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Chief Ministers from Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan and several ministers were present during scrutiny.

The scrutiny of the papers was undertaken amid tight security at the Election Commission as thousands of police commandoes and regulars in riot gear were deployed along the Constitution Avenue.

Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said the process was vital to ensure fairness and transparency of the entire process and for the strength of democracy in the country.

''The democratic traditions demand that all sides are allowed to express their point of view and the scrutiny process is a vital part of the presidential election,'' Mr Aziz said.

The Prime Minister said the historic verdict by Supreme Court clearing the re-election bid by President Pervez Musharraf has proven the supremacy of Constitution as well as the independence of judiciary.

The Commission had received 71 nomination papers of 43 candidates.

Qazi Farooq cleared Gen Musharraf's papers rejecting the objections raised by the lawyers of PPP candidate Makhdoom Amin Fahim, lawyer's candidate Justice Wajihuddin Ahmed and Faryal Talpur.

Besides, Gen Musharraf, Mr Fahim Amin and Justice Wajihuddin rest of the three are covering candidates.

The Election Commission also accepted the nomination papers of President Musharraf's covering candidates, including Senate Chairman Mianmuhammad Soomro and National Assembly Speaker Ch Amir Hussain.

The Election Commission had allowed only the candidates, their proposers and seconders and the authorized agents to enter the premises. Only a limited number of journalists were allowed, however no cameras were permitted inside the building.

UNI

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