Hearing of cases challenging Musharraf’s candidacy adjourned

By Xinhua

Islamabad : The Supreme Court of Pakistan decided Wednesday that the hearing of petitions challenging President General Pervez Musharraf’s presidential candidature should be postponed, media reports said.

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A nine-member bench of the Supreme Court, constituted by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to hear the petitions, broke up Wednesday because one of the judges on the bench, Sardar Muhammad Raza Khan, refused to sit, the Dawn News report said.

Raza said that he had already given his opinion on the same petitions on Sep 28 and felt uncomfortable to sit on a bench dealing with the same matter.

As a result, the Supreme Court was forced to adjourn the petitions to challenge Musharraf’s presidential candidature.

A nine-member bench issued a six to three verdict in Musharraf’s favour on Sep 28, ruling that the petitions against his dual office had been dismissed, a sign that he was eligible to contest presidential elections in uniform.

Raza was one of the three judges who disagreed with the majority verdict.

The Dawn News TV channel quoted retired justice Wajihuddin Ahmed – another presidential candidate put up by the lawyers — as saying that he was not confident about the nine-member bench. He reportedly asked the Supreme Court to constitute a full bench for the petitions.

The petitions are widely considered to be a last-ditch bid to oppose Musharraf’s re-election.

The presidential elections are scheduled Oct 6.