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Musharraf to go ahead with reelection plans
August 07, 2007 12:31 IST
Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf [Images] has said he will go ahead with plans to be re-elected by the present assemblies in September.
He said the question of whether he should continue as the chief of army can be answered after the general elections.
Addressing legislators of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Q and allies in Karachi on Monday, Musharraf said he will be re-elected by the existing assemblies holding the dual posts, The News quoted presidential spokesman Maj-Gen (retd) Rashid Qureshi as saying.
Musharraf also virtually ruled out the return of former prime ministers Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto [Images] from exile, telling PML-Q legislators that there was no future for those leaders who were living abroad, the Dawn newspaper reported.
Musharraf also confirmed his recent meeting with Bhutto in Abu Dhabi, which he maintained were inconclusive. "Talks are part of politics. Nothing definitive has been decided. Before taking any decision, you all will be taken into confidence. My success is your success," he reportedly said.
Musharraf asked the legislators not to get confused by the ongoing propaganda aimed at creating doubts about the forthcoming presidential and general elections. "The general elections will be held as per schedule and no one should have any doubt about that," he said.
He also reportedly referred to a clause in the constitution that the National Assembly and the assemblies of the four provinces cannot be dissolved if the presidential election is due.
Apparently referring to criticism by opposition parties that he cannot get re-elected twice by the same assemblies, Musharraf defended his plans saying it was a constitutional requirement that the presidential election be held one month before the end of his five-year term ending in November, so the election would be held between September 15 and October 15.
Some reports quoted him as saying that the presidential poll would be held on September 15.
Provincial Minister Muhammad Ali Malkani, who attended the meeting, said Musharraf has taken a stand that the constitution did not bar him from contesting the presidential election for a second term.
He also expressed confidence that he would not face any problems from the Supreme Court, which was expected to be flooded with petitions challenging his reelection. "The president said that the Supreme Court could also not restrain him from re-election as president as the present chief justice had also signed the apex court's previous judgment in his favour," district Nazim Thatta, Shafqat Shirazi was quoted by Daily Times as saying.
One legislator who was present in the meeting said Musharraf, who in some previous meetings appeared "shaky," was "confident" this time. "He appeared to be very confident this time. It seems if he has got a solid assurance from Benazir Bhutto," he said.
Meanwhile, newly appointed Attorney General, retired Justice Malik Qayyum said Musharraf could be re-elected as president in uniform from the present assemblies for another five-year term and there was no constitutional or legal hindrance in this.
"I think there is no constitutional or legal hindrance which could obstruct the reelection of the president in uniform from the present legislature," Daily Times quoted Qayyum as saying.
The legal opinion of the principal law officer of the government on the issue of the president's reelection from the present assemblies was openly expressed for the first time.
Qayyum's predecessor, Makhdoom Ali Khan always parried questions on Musharraf's re-election. To a question whether the government can withdraw the corruption cases against Bhutto as part of the reported deal, Qayyum said that cases against Bhutto could be withdrawn if the prosecution took back the cases.
Qayyum, who adjudicated on cases relating to Bhutto earlier, quit as judge of Lahore [Images] high court after the Supreme Court termed his judgment against the PPP leader as biased.