Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Monday ruled in favour of doing away with the graduation condition for contesting general elections in the country. The graduation condition, the Supreme Court said, went against Articles 17 and Article 25 of the Pakistan Constitution.
A short order of the Supreme Court stated that the rule, enforced prior to the 2002 general elections by President Pervez Musharraf’s government, was discriminatory. The 2008 general elections were also held under the same graduation condition, which led to the disqualification of many politicians.
The ruling Pakistan Peoples Party has welcomed the decision by the Supreme Court. Foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who is also the party's secretary general, told the media that the move was “very welcome amongst the people”.
Qureshi said that the rule for graduation deprived the country of “many seasoned politicians”. In a country where the literacy rate is so low, “it does not make sense for only politicians with degrees be allowed to contest the polls”.
At the same time, some political analysts have suggested that the move by the Supreme Court may help some notable politicians, including PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari, in the forthcoming by-elections. Already, Zardari has said he does not rule out the possibility of standing for Prime Minister and to do so he would have to contest elections.