A leading Pakistani jurist and a senior Pakistani Peoples Party (PPP) parliamentarian Aitzaz Ahsan has said General Pervez Musharraf could not be a candidate in the next presidential election owing to constitutional constraints which did not permit him to contest for another term.
He said under the Constitution, present assemblies were bound to elect a new president between September 15, 2007 and October 15, 2007.
The Nation newspaper quoted him as saying in Lahore, "Office of president would fall vacant on November 15, 2007, and it was a constitutional requirement that present assemblies should elect a new president between September 15, 2007 to October 15, 2007".
Aitzaz maintained that Gen Musharraf could not be elected president either in uniform or without it.
"He (Musharraf) cannot remain even in uniform after November 15, 2007 under the Constitution, now under suspension since November 16, 2002, which would stand revived on November 15, 2007, and which bars the president from holding any public office," he said.
"The present assemblies had elected Gen Musharraf for a five year term in December 2003, months after he got himself elected in what majority of political parties and independent think-tanks called controversial referendum."
"To remain in uniform beyond that date, it will be mandatory for President Musharraf to bring another amendment to the Constitution, for which two-third majority is required, which is not there for the PML (Q) in the parliament," Aitzaz said.
He said, "Gen Musharraf was ineligible to contest for the office of president under articles-41, according to which, a presidential candidate should qualify to become an MNA slot."
"Gen Musharraf does not fulfil this condition too because to be a candidate for an MNA, one must not be in the service of government two years before contesting any election.
In this way, Musharraf should have shed his uniform on November 15, 2005 to complete the two years mandatory period to qualify for presidential election," Aitzaz added.
Aitzaz said he was confident about the no-confidence motion against the Prime Minister to be moved by Alliance for Restoration of Democracy (ARD) after July 31.
According to him, it would bring many surprises for the government, as treasury members annoyed with the attitudes of Mr Shaukat Aziz would side with the Opposition.
He said the six-party religious alliance, Mutahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) would also support the ARD in this regard. Besides, he added, there were certain powers, which wanted change of face at the level of Prime Minister.
He said success of no-confidence motion would weaken the very foundations on which entire structure of present system was standing. In case of failure of the motion, he said, the struggle to dislodge the present regime would continue.