Islamabad, Sept 18 (UNI) Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf today informed the country's Supreme Court that he would relinquish office of the chief of army staff after his re-election.
"If elected for the second term, President Musharraf shall relinquish office of the chief of army staff soon after the election but before taking the oath for the second term," said a statement submitted on his behalf in the court by his chief lawyer Sharifuddin Pirzada.
"The election commissioner/returning officers should scrutinize his nomination papers independently in accordance with the law," the statement said.
However, counsel for the fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami, which has challenged the 2004 act of parliament that allow Musharraf to hold the dual offices, termed the statement as "malicious".
"It has been filed maliciously to prejudice minds of the judges hearing the case,'' Akram Sheikh told the court while reacting to the statement.
The presiding judge Rana Bhagwandas was quick to rebut the statement, saying that "we are least prejudiced." Sheikh said that an effort had been made by filing the statement to influence this court about the belying conduct of the President as if he was just about to shed his uniform.
He said Gen Musharraf was ineligible to contest election for the second term and also to file nomination papers as he continued to hold office of the army chief, adding the act allowing Gen Musharraf to hold dual offices was "person-specific".
The President to Hold Another Office Act was approved by Parliament in November 2004 with the help of Jamaat which had xtended support to the ruling Pakistan Muslim League in legalising Gen Musharraf's presidency through a vote of confidence from Parliament in return for his assurance to hang off uniform by December 31,2004.
However, he reneged the commitment a day before the cut-off date claiming that 90 per cent people wanted him to continue as the army chief.