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Pakistan Opposition Alliance To Resign From Parliament

  • VOA News

An alliance of opposition parties led by the party of former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif says it will resign from parliament to protest President General Musharraf's bid to win another term in office in next week's election.

The All Parties Democratic Movement announced it will resign from the federal and provincial parliaments on October second -- just four days before the presidential ballot.

The resignations will not derail the vote held by the parliament and provincial assemblies because General Musharraf holds a majority. But the move could be perceived as hurting the election's credibility.

The announcement came after several developments related to the political turmoil surrounding the October sixth election. Earlier on Thursday, the chief justice of the Supreme Court ordered authorities to release opposition activists detained during a crackdown on anti-government protests.

Also on Thursday, President Musharraf officially registered to run for another term along with two other opposition candidates.

Hundreds of riot police and security forces sealed the streets of the capital, Islamabad, in anticipation of more demonstrations against the president's attempt to stay in power.

Tensions are high as Pakistanis await Supreme Court rulings, expected Friday, on several petitions challenging General Musharraf's eligibility to run for office while remaining chief of the military.

The president's nomination papers were delivered to the Election Commission by Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, who said it is a historic day for Pakistan.

Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif tried to return to Pakistan from exile earlier this month but was immediately deported. He was ousted from power by General Musharraf in a 1999 coup. Sharif has vowed to push the president, who also holds the post of army chief, from power.

The president has said he will stand down as army chief if he wins another term in office -- but plans to remain in the post if not.

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