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Nominations accepted for Pak PM's election

world Updated: Mar 23, 2008 20:50 IST

The nomination papers of PPP leader Yousuf Raza Gillani and PML-Q leader Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi for Monday's election for the premiership, were accepted by the National Assembly secretariat on Sunday.

Gillani, who was nominated on Sunday by the Pakistan People's Party to lead the coalition government, is expected to be elected the new Prime Minister of Pakistan when the lower house of parliament meets on Monday.

The PML-Q fielded Elahi after MQM leader Farooq Sattar, the joint candidate of the opposition parties, withdrew from the race as a "goodwill gesture" following a request of PPP chairman Asif Ali Zardari.

Elahi's nomination will be symbolic as the opposition parties have only about 70 members in the 342-member House. Sunday was the last day for the filing of nominations for the post of Prime Minister. The nominations were accepted after scrutiny by National Assembly Secretary Karamat Hussain Niazi.

Earlier in the day, Gillani and Elahi went to the National Assembly with senior leaders of their respective parties to file the nominations.

Speaking to reporters, Elahi said the PML-Q had decided to give him a chance as it did not want to leave the field open for the PPP. His nomination was also in keeping with the essence of democratic norms, he said. "One-party rule is against democratic norms and is no service to democracy," Elahi said.

The MQM has not betrayed the PML-Q even though the two parties had earlier decided to sit in the opposition benches in the National Assembly, Elahi added.

Meanwhile, the opposition parties have decided to boycott a dinner hosted by Speaker Fehmida Mirza for the newly elected MPs to protest remarks made by PPP leader Syed Khurshid Ahmad Shah, PML-Q lawmaker Sheikh Waqas Akram said.

"The remarks by Khurshid Shah are not only derogatory but are also uncalled for as no one has the right to humiliate elected legislators or a political party," Akram said.

On being asked by the media whether the PPP would seek the PML-Q's cooperation, Shah had said there was no need to consult the PML-Q as this would be "ignominious" to the mandate given to the party by its supporters.