'Mush's re-election in uniform unconstitutional'

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Islamabad, Sep 19: The Pakistan People's Party has termed ''unconstitutional'' President Pervez Musharraf's decision to doff uniform only after his re-election as President.

''The PPP opposes the re-election of Gen Musharraf from the present Parliament as unconstitutional on two grounds -- first an Army chief cannot contest presidential elections and secondly that even after retiring an Army chief has to wait for two years to contest polls,'' The Nation quoted party spokesman Farhatullah Babar as saying.

''The PPP was under the impression that Gen Musharraf would seek re-election after leaving the post of Army chief from the present Parliament,'' he added.

Mr Babar said the option of resigning from the present Assemblies was open for the party.

He said once Gen Musharraf files his nomination papers, the party would decide whether to resign from the Assemblies or boycott the elections.

The PPP leader, however, pointed out that if the government agrees to their three-point charter of demands, they will not resign and leave the issue of his eligibility to ''superior judiciary'' to decide.

The Benazir Bhutto-led party was demanding Gen Musharraf should first quit as army chief prior to seeking re-election from the present assemblies; take measures to reconcile the nation by passing a law giving immunity to those parliamentarians who have not been proved guilty by any court in the last ten years; and repeal the ban on a twice-elected prime minister being eligible to contest for a third time.

The All Pakistan Democratic Movement (APDM), an alliance of Nawaz Sharif-led PML-N, Muttahida Majlis Amal and other regional parties, had announced that their lawmakers will quit assemblies if nomination papers of President Musharraf were accepted by the Election Commission.

The alliance had also decided that it will also withdraw from governments in the NWFP and Balochistan provinces in protest against Gen Musharraf's bid for re-election.


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