[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Pakistan [official website] began hearing petitions Monday by parties opposing the re-election of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf [BBC profile] while he serves as chief of Pakistan's army. The court hearings came the same day that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) [official website] said that a change to election rules [press release] will facilitate Musharraf's bid for re-election [AP report]. Last week, the ECP changed the law [Hindu.com report] so that Article 41(3) [PDF text] of the Pakistani Constitution [text], which prohibits a candidate from holding a government office, no longer applies. The rule change allows Musharraf to remain the army chief while he runs for office. A senior official in the ruling Pakistan Muslim League said Monday that Musharraf will step down from his role as army chief [Reuters report] if elected to a second term as president.
The parties petitioning the Supreme Court Monday oppose Musharraf's dual role as president and army chief, and also say Musharraf must be elected by a general election rather than Musharraf's suggestion that he be elected by the outgoing parliament and provincial assemblies. Monday's arguments are the second round of opposition arguments posed to the Supreme Court. Other opposition parties began disputing Musharraf's dual role earlier this month [JURIST report]. Meanwhile, a group of Pakistani lawyers has begun a campaign to obtain Musharraf's resignation [JURIST report] and restore the 1973 Constitution [text]. AFP has more.