No Supreme Court ruling on Musharraf's candidacy tomorrow

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Islamabad, Nov 1 (UNI) In a significant development, Pakistan's Supreme Court said it will not give a ruling on cases against President Pervez Musharraf's candidacy and re-election tomorrow due to prolonged arguments by the government's counsel.

Attorney General Malik Mohammad Qayyum, who has repeatedly been saying that the government wanted an early decision, said he would conclude his arguments tomorrow followed by arguments by counsels for federation and the President.

''It was our effort to conclude the case by today but it has lingered on due to lengthy arguments by lawyers,'' presiding judge Javed Iqbal said as the court heard the case.

He said since some of the member judges had some engagements, the court would not be listening the case next week and the hearing will resume from November 12.

It was quite unclear as to what the government want because if the hearing goes on for three more days as expected till November 15, it may put Gen Musharraf in trouble as his term in office expires the same day.

Even the Act7 of 2004 that allowed Gen Musharraf to hold dual offices of President and army chief will also expire on November 15.

''It seems the government has changed its strategy and there is something wrong between the lines,''Aitzaz Ahsan, counsel for one of the petitioners, retired judge Wajihuddin Ahmad, told the court.

Wajihuddin and Makhdoom Amin Fahim had challenged Gen Musharraf's candidacy saying that he did not qualify to contest presidential election for another term in uniform. However, the court had allowed holding of October 6 elections but directed to withhold the official notification of the returned candidate till decision on the petitions.

Gen Musharraf, who swept the election, has already announced he would doff his uniform before taking the oath for the second term.

''Change of government's strategy shows something wrong,'' Aitzaz Ahsan told reporters, saying that ''we will not allow imposition of emergency or martial law in the country.'' Attorney General Malik Qayyum said that the government side needed more time to complete arguments and that is why they decided to get on with the case.

He said that Gen Musharraf would doff his uniform if he was allowed to take oath. But if he does not become President for the second term, he will remain chief of army staff.

However, he did not explain under which law he will remain army chief because Act7 is to expire on November 15.


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