Upping the ante, over 230 Opposition lawmakers have resigned from Pakistan's national and provincial assemblies to resist President Pervez Musharraf's re-election bid, as journalists observed a 'Black Day' on Sunday condemning the police action during protests against the General.
Eighty-four members of the National Assembly and 152 of four provincial assemblies from opposition alliance All Parties Democratic Movement (APDM) submitted their resignations to their respective party leaders, Raja Zafarul Haq, senior leader of Pakistan Muslim League-N, told reporters in Islamabad.
APDM is headed by exiled former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's PML (N).
Haq said the resignations will be submitted to the Speaker of National Assembly and respective Speakers of provincial assemblies on October 2, the day after Election
Commission displays the final list of candidates for the Oct 6 Presidential poll.
Journalists all over the country marched with Black flags on Sunday to protest against the tear-gas and baton charge on mediapersons covering the protests before the Election Commission in Islamabad on Saturday during the scrutiny of nominations for presidential poll.
Sixty-four people were injured, including 13 police officials, 31 journalists, two opposition lawmakers and several passers-by in the clashes, the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan news agency reported today.
The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists decried the government actions as "shameful".
"What happened yesterday was shameful. It was the darkest day in Pakistan's history," Mushtaq Minhas, president of the press club here, said accusing the government of increasing intolerance towards media.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Mohammad Ali Durani has condemned the police action on journalists and said that the Government has ordered an enquiry into the incidents.
Meanwhile a civil judge-cum-judicial magistrate resigned against the Supreme Court's judgment on petitions against Musharraf and resolved to join the legal fraternity in their struggle for the independence of judiciary.
Civil judge Ijaz Ahmad, who is stationed in Abbottabad in North West Frontier Province submitted one-month's notice to the Peshawar High Court stating that from October 29 he might be treated as having resigned.
He said that the Supreme Court judgment of Sept 28 allowing Musharraf to contest the Presidential poll had demolished all that had been achieved over the past three months.
The Election Commission on Saturday approved the nomination of six candidates including Musharraf overruling objections by the Opposition to the General's candidature for another term.
Pakistan Supreme Court, which gave a majority judgment permitting Musharraf to contest the Presidential poll election, was expected to be at the scene of action again tomorrow when the lawyers' outfits and opposition parties file fresh petitions challenging the approval of Musharraf's nomination.
Interestingly the Pakistan Peoples Party, (PPP) headed by former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, which had fielded a candidate to contest against Musharraf would also file a petition challenging the acceptance of nomination papers of Musharraf on several counts.
The lawyers' organisations said they would file a petition while the Jamat-e-Islami, whose petition against Musharraf's re-election has already been rejected by the court with 6-3 majority verdict would file a review petition asking for constitution of a full bench to hear the case.
The APDM consists of Muthahida Majlis Amal, (MMA), the Islamist alliance which besides being the second largest party with 60 members in the National Assembly, also holds power in North West Frontier Province, (NWFP) and shared power with the ruling PML-Q in Balochistan.
Most of the resignations have come from the Jamat Ulema Islami (JUI), which has a large share of members in MMA in the national assembly.
The resignations of JUI lawmakers in NWFP would be followed by a recommendation from the Chief Minister Akram Durrani to the provincial Governor to dissolve the assembly.
The ruling PML-Q members were trying to avert the dissolution by filing a no-confidence motion, which legally empowers the governor to not dissolve it. If it is dissolved, the Presidential election would be confined to National Assembly, Senate and Provincial Assemblies of Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan.