Will Musharraf doff his uniform before Oct 6?

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Islamabad, Oct 1: With less than a week to go for the presidential elections in Pakistan, uncertainty continues to prevail as to whether President General Pervez Musharraf would shed his uniform before seeking re-election on October 6, or he would wait till November 15.

There is no doubt in any official quarter that the President will have to quit his army slot by November 15 this year. The period during which he would say goodbye to the Pakistan Army spans approximately six weeks – from October 6 to November 15, The News reported.

“As per the Constitution, Musharraf is bound to give up his army office and this is what he has been repeatedly told over the past several months," a top official of the Pakistan Government said.

Musharraf"s chief lawyer Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada has submitted a written commitment in the Supreme Court about vacation of his army office, he said.

Pirzada"s written statement on Musharraf"s behalf is now the property of the Supreme Court in which it was stated that if re-elected as president, Musharraf would relinquish his army office after the election and before oath taking as head of state, he added.

One official quarter is of view that if Musharraf is re-elected, he should take oath as a civilian President on the very day i.e. October 6.

If Musharraf goes by the advice of several Cabinet Minister, he will make a number of key army appointments in the week that has started on October 1. Musharraf will announce the names of his successor, the Vice Chief of the Army Staff, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee and some others within five days, the daily claimed.

On the other hand, the second opinion prevailing in the official quarters is that Musharraf should take fresh oath as president on November 14 and before that should leave the military office.

A majority of the Pakistan Government Ministers favour the first opinion, while the Chaudhrys of Gujrat want the president to keep the army position till the law allows it.


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