Pak SC to give verdict on Musharraf's re-election next week

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Islamabad, Oct 24 (UNI) The eleven-member Pakistan's Supreme Court bench hearing legal challenges against military ruler Pervez Musharraf's presidential candidacy will announce its ruling next week.

The candidacy of President Musharraf is being challenged by other aspirants of President office -- Justice(retd) Wajihuddin Ahmad and Vice-Chairman of Pakistan People's Party Makhdoom Amin Fahim.

The petitioners contended that the Presidential elections of October 6 be declared null and void as President Musharraf contesting the election while being the army chief is illegal.

Aitzaz Ahsan, counsel for Justice Wajihuddin, told the court today that Gen Musharraf was ineligible to even contest the election as he was holding office of army chief, adding that the army is under command and control of the federal government.

He said under the Pakistani constitution, a person can contest presidential elections just for two terms.

Elaborating, he said that Musharraf's first term began after he ousted then president Muhammad Rafiq Tarar in June 2001 and stepped into the presidency. His second term began after he got himself elected in the April 2002 referendum and later took oath as President.

''Therefore, he cannot become President for the third time,'' argued Ahsan, He asserted to the bench on Monday that tanks will not roll on the Islamabad streets if the court decides that 'Musharraf cannot be the president'.

He had said the court must bury once and for all the doctorine of necessity that had been the root cause of problems in the country, adding that the court could rescue the nation by shutting gates for military intervention and martial law in the country.

Gen Musharraf has already announced that he would doff uniform before taking oath as President for the second term.

The Supreme Court had early this month allowed holding of presidential elections but declared that results would not be notified till the decision on the two petitions.

President Musharraf, who assumed power in a bloodless military coup in 1999, last month named Vice Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kiyani as his successor.

UNI

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