is pakistan going to fall to al queda, will it reform?

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  1. actsnoblemartin

    actsnoblemartin I love Andrea & April

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    Pakistani opposition quitting Parliament

    ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - Opposition legislators submitted their resignations Tuesday as part of their efforts to undercut President Gen. Pervez Musharraf's re-election bid.

    Seperately, two of Musharraf's filed fresh legal challenges to his candidacy.

    The resignations are aimed at eroding the validity of the Saturday vote by national and provincial lawmakers. Musharraf's allies insist they have enough votes to win him another five-year term.

    The government said the resignations would have no effect on the election.

    "The presidential election will be held on schedule. We have to hold the presidential election to meet a constitutional requirement and we will do it," Information Minister Mohammed Ali Durrani said.

    Maulana Fazal-ur Rahman, leader of the opposition in Parliament, said Musharraf might win the election, but he would have no legitimacy.

    "After our resignation, Musharraf's success would have no value," Rahman said.

    Musharraf, who seized power in a 1999 coup, has faced growing opposition since March when he made a botched attempt to oust the country's chief justice.

    Lawyers for retired judge Wajihuddin Ahmed and for Makhdoom Amin Fahim, vice chairman of the party of ex-Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, filed two petitions with the Supreme Court on Tuesday morning.

    Both argue that Musharraf is ineligible to run because he has retained his role as army chief and that the Election Commission was wrong to approve his nomination papers Saturday.

    The court dismissed several similar challenges Friday, but lawyers expressed optimism that it would act after the commission changed an election rule in Musharraf's favor.

    "We are hopeful for justice in this building," lawyer Tariq Mahmood told reporters. "We have a strong case against Pervez Musharraf."

    Opposition leaders submitted the resignations of all 85 of their lawmakers in the 342-seat National Assembly. Two ruling party legislators also quit over their differences with their party's policies.

    "Our lawmakers are making this sacrifice in the larger interest of Pakistan. It is a decisive moment," said Javed Hashmi, acting leader of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-N party.

    Under the Constitution, the president is elected by the National Assembly, the Senate and the four provincial legislatures.

    The ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Q party hopes that Bhutto will not join the opposition boycott.

    Prodded by the United States, Musharraf has held talks with Bhutto that could lead to a power-sharing arrangement after parliamentary elections due by January.

    Both Musharraf, a close U.S. ally, and Bhutto have called for moderates to unite against extremism, and Bhutto said in an interview aired Monday that she would cooperate with the American military in targeting Osama bin Laden.

    Bhutto told BBC America that she would accept U.S. assistance in the event that Washington discovered the whereabouts of the al-Qaida leader, but that she would prefer to have the Pakistani military execute the strike.

    "If there is overwhelming evidence, I would hope that I would be able to take Osama bin Laden myself without depending on the Americans," Bhutto said. "But if I couldn't do it, of course we are fighting this war together and would seek their cooperation in eliminating him."

    The opposition insists Musharraf should not seek another re-election by the current assemblies and say new legislative elections should be held first. It has also urged Musharraf to step down as powerful army chief.

    The general has promised to give up his uniform if he wins the election and restore civilian rule in a country that has lurched between unstable elected governments and military regimes during its 60-year history.

    Authorities have resorted to authoritarian methods to contain the opposition.

    Riot police fired tear gas and used batons Saturday on lawyers protesting against Musharraf, then turned on journalists covering the demonstration.

    On Monday, Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry ordered the Islamabad police chief and two other officials suspended over the crackdown that injured dozens of reporters and attorneys.

    U.S. State Department spokesman Tom Casey on Monday told reporters that the U.S. takes "seriously any attempts to close or otherwise hinder media from taking appropriate actions."

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