Pak CEC to announce prez poll schedule later

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Islamabad, Sep 18: Pakistan Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) has asked for some more time to announce the schedule for the presidential polls, media reports here said.

CEC Justice (retd) Qazi Mohammad Farooq is reported to have ignored the government request to immediately announce the schedule for presidential polls, giving currency to the reports that President Pervez Musharraf's re-election from the current parliament might be delayed, the Nation reported quoting sources.

The decision has come as a great surprise to the government which was expecting that the poll schedule would be announced by September 15.

The paper quoted a source as claiming that this might be part of the deal between Gen Musharraf and Pakistan People's Party chief Benazir Bhutto that the military ruler should seek re-election from the new assemblies.

The sources cited amendment to election rules as the main reason behind the CEC's ''reluctance'', it reported.

The Supreme Court, hearing petitions against Gen Musharraf holding two offices and his re-election bid, yesterday observed that the amendment to Article 63 of the presidential election rules was a ''serious matter''.

Federal Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Sher Afgan Niazi contacted the CEC yesterday and requested him to announce the election schedule as required by the constitution. But, the CEC is said to have refused to fix the date of presidential election.

However, he assured the Minister that the Commission would announce the polls schedule soon, the paper reported.

Dr Niazi expressed the hope that the CEC would announce the election schedule soon as it was ''a constitutional requirement''.


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