The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Opposition MPs vent ire on Musharraf

Islamabad, Sept. 23: Opposition MPs today staged a protest against President Pervez Musharraf’s controversial constitutional amendments outside the parliament and vowed to continue its agitation against the legal framework order (LFO).

Led by Makhdoom Amin Fahim of the Pakistan Peoples’ Party, Javed Hashmi of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz Sharif) and Liaqat Baloch of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), the MPs criticised the pro-establishment Pakistan Muslim League’s (Quaid-e-Azam) attempts to buy or bully members from within the Opposition parties in favour of Musharraf.

Musharraf’s remarks at a gathering in New York that he would not give up the post of army chief has sparked anger amongst the Opposition MPs.

They said holding dual offices of President and chief of army staff by Musharraf is illegal and unconstitutional. President Musharraf addresses the UN General Assembly tomorrow and Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali will meet President Bush later this week.

The talks between the MMA and the government over the order, which bestows sweeping powers on Musharraf, are currently deadlocked as the President has refused to subject himself to a parliamentary vote.

The Opposition says Musharraf should either seek a vote of confidence from the electoral college — the National Assembly, the Senate and the provincial assemblies — or get himself elected again after relinquishing the presidency. The Opposition is also insisting that all the clauses included in the order must be put to the parliament for debate.

“The government is trying to use the parliament for pushing through the controversial order and we have no choice but to boycott the proceedings,” Hafiz Hussain Ahmad, MMA deputy secretary general, said.

“President Musharraf is a controversial person and is basking in the glory heaped on him by the US and Western countries,” said Liaqat Baloch.

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