PPP says Musharraf in uniform not acceptable

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Islamabad, Sep 18 (UNI) Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan Peoples Party today made it clear that it cannot accept a uniformed president.

"General Musharraf's decision to get himself re-elected in uniform is both unconstitutional and undemocratic," PPP's Central Information Secretary, Sherry Rehman said hours after Gen Musharraf undertook to relinquish army chief's post soon after contesting presidential elections.

"Our party has always struggled for the restoration of democracy and the empowerment of the people through a sovereign parliament," she said, adding a uniformed president belies both claims.

This kind of bending of electoral rules and constitutional laws will trigger political instability in the country, which it could not afford, Rehman said against the backdrop of reports about collapse of the dialogue between Gen Musharraf and Ms Bhutto over power-sharing.

Ms Bhutto has already announced to return to Pakistan on October 18 to lead her party and participate in the upcoming parliamentary elections, scheduled to be completed by early next year.

Rehman said that it is unconstitutional for a public servant, which Gen Musharaf is as army chief, to contest for elections until a period of two years has lapsed.

The party has held negotiations in the interests of strengthening democratic institutions, not individuals, said Rehman.

"The party opposes the re-election of Gen Musharaf from the present Parliament as unconstitutional on two grounds namely that first an army chief cannot contest presidential elections and secondly that even after retiring an army chief has to wait two years to contest elections," she stressed.


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