PPP boycotts voting for Pak Prez polls

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Islamabad, Oct 6: Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan Peoples Party abstained from voting in the presidential election today, a day after the government announced to withdraw corruption cases against the self-exiled former premier.

President Pervez Musharraf late yesterday promulgated the 'National Reconciliation Ordinance 2007' after stretched negotiations between the government and the People's Party chairperson for giving immediate relief to the two-time PM.

She will get an amnesty in all cases that were registered against her and her spouse Asif Ali Zardari by the Nawaz Sharif government.

Altaf Hussain, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement's chief, and Interior Minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao are expected to be among the other beneficiaries.

''We are not polling votes in line with our policy that a uniformed president is ineligible to run for the next term,'' Senator Babar Awan of PPP told reporters in Islamabad.

The country's Supreme Court yesterday allowed the government to hold the presidential election as per schedule but directed that notification of the returned candidate would not be issued till decision on petitions filed by two other presidential candidates, Wajihuddin Ahmad and Makhdoom Amin Fahim challenging Musharraf's candidature and his election for the next term.

The Court is scheduled to hear petitions from October 17.

Gen Musharraf, whose term expires on November 15, had announced last month that he would relinquish office of Army Chief before taking the oath of president for the next term.

''Gen Musharraf's policies have weakened the country with people getting increaisngly fed up with the armed forces,'' former deputy parliamentary leader of the Mutahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) Liaqat Baloch said.

MMA was among one of the parties in the All Parties Democratic Movement (APDM), whose members had resigned en masse from the national and provincial Assemblies early this week.

Opposition says that it was illegal and unconstitutional for outgoing assemblies to elect a president for the next five years.

According to Election Commission sources, 197 members of the national Assembly, 58 Senators, 251 members of the Punjab Assembly, 34 in NWFP Assembly, 97 in Sindh Assembly and 33 in Balochistan Assembly polled their votes.


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