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Pakistani minister quits to protest Musharraf's re-election plan

Pakistani minister quits to protest Musharraf's re-election plan

A Pakistani minister announced Monday that he was quitting over President Gen. Pervez Musharraf re-election plan, the first senior government official to abandon the military leader in the run-up to the vote.
Ishaq Khan Khakwani, Minister of State for Information Technology, said he submitted his resignation to the prime minister who will forward it to Musharraf.
"My only opposition (to Musharraf) is over election in uniform," Khakwani told reporters, referring to Musharraf's plan to secure another five-year term while still chief of the army.
Musharraf, who seized power in a bloodless coup in 1999 and vowed to restore democracy, plans to ask lawmakers for a fresh presidential mandate in September or October.
However, he faces growing pressure at home and abroad to seek re-election as a civilian.
Musharraf has seen his authority greatly eroded since March when he tried to remove the independent-minded head of the Supreme Court. The move backfired, sparking street protests that snowballed into a campaign against military rule.
The move dismayed many in the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Q party and stirred talk that some lawmakers will switch to opposition parties before parliamentary polls due by January.
The Supreme Court eventually reinstated its chief justice, raising the prospect that it could declare Musharraf's re-election unconstitutional.
The emboldened court already ruled last week that Nawaz Sharif, the prime minister Musharraf toppled in 1999 and sent into exile, can return home.
Benazir Bhutto, another banished former premier, is considering whether to enter a power-sharing deal with Musharraf, but insists he must give up his army post and give more power to Parliament.
Khakwani, who is a member of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Q party, said that he would continue as a lawmaker.


Updated : 2021-04-18 08:31 GMT+08:00