Being graduate may not be mandatory to contest polls in Pakistan

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Islamabad, Oct 26 (UNI) Being a graduate may not remain a mandatory condition to contest elections in Pakistan.

The condition was among the key points discussed between the government and the Pakistan People's Party at a recent meeting and it could be rescinded.

''The government has initially expressed its willingness to end the graduation condition because it is one of the major demands of PPP Chairperson Benazir Bhutto,'' The News quoted sources as saying.

Undergraduates were barred from contesting the election under the Political Parties Act 2002, when the Legal Framework Order was promulgated. The order ultimately got legitimacy with the approval of the 17th Amendment.

PPP Vice-Chairman Makhdoom Amin Fahim and Rehman Malik have been holding talks with the government representatives and ISI chief Lt Gen Nadeem Taj during the last five days on different issues, including the lifting of the graduation condition.

The senior PPP leaders yesterday apprised party chief Benazir Bhutto of the negotiations, particularly with the ISI chief, on a host of the issues, including the power-sharing formula with Gen Musharraf.

The graduation condition has perturbed political parties, forcing many political heavyweights to sit outside Parliament after it was enforced for the 2002 general elections.

''Lifting the graduation condition is not the demand of the PPP only but also of other political parties,'' the PPP chairperson told MMA Deputy Secretary-General Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri at a meeting in Karachi last Tuesday.

''Yes, there was a discussion on this point with Benazir who said all political parties must join hands and exert pressure on the government to remove the bar,'' Mr Haideri confirmed.


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