Musharraf willing to face re-election before October 15

Islamabad, May 17 (DPA) Pakistan’s current parliament will re-elect President Pervez Musharraf for another five-year term between September 15 and October 15, the military leader said in an interview reported by national media Thursday.

“There is no ambiguity in the constitution in this context but people debating the issue of the presidential election are unaware of the constitution,” Musharraf told the AVT Khyber private Pashtu-language news channel late Wednesday.

Support TwoCircles

Opposition parties are calling for the army general to shed his uniform and seek a second term from a new parliament that is due for election within three months after the current assembly is dissolved on November 16.

But Pakistan’s leader, who came to power in a bloodless coup in 1999, made it clear that “existing assemblies will elect the president for a second term instead of new assemblies.”

Members allied to the increasingly embattled president presently dominate the parliament.

Musharraf is under attack by the opposition over his suspension of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry for alleged misconduct in March. He is also struggling to contain the spread of Islamic militancy emanating from Pakistan’s tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.

Regarding his military status, the president has repeatedly said that his actions will conform to the constitution, which allows him to remain as army chief until the end of 2007.

“Completion of a constitutionally five-year mandated tenure by the existing assemblies will be ample proof that I am a champion of democracy,” he told the channel.