Benazir aims to run for premiership
LONDON: The Pakistan Peoples Party of self-exiled ex-premier Benazir Bhutto prepared Saturday to file her nomination papers for the October 10 elections as she declared she would run for prime minister.
Ms Bhutto made the vow in an email interview with AFP from London, a day after her legal challenge against laws barring her from the polls got under way in the High Court of Sindh.
Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) activists collected nomination papers from her birthplace Larkana.
“I hope to run for premier myself as I am still qualified to contest and I will file my nomination papers by August 24,” she said, referring to a deadline set by Pakistan’s Electoral Commission deadline. Bhutto, twice-elected and twice-dismissed as prime minister on corruption charges, has vowed to return from four years’ self-imposed exile in London and Dubai to run in the parliamentary elections.
But she conceded Saturday that she will not be back in time to file nominations in person, as she had pledged in an earlier telephone interview last week.
“It’s so sad she herself is not here and I have to go and collect her nomination, but the people will once show their support for Bhuttos,” said veteran PPP activist Ashraf Abbasi, who was directed by Bhutto to collect nomination papers for registration as a candidate in Larkana.
“Over 300 workers raised slogans reading Jeay Bhutto (Long live Bhutto) and Wazir-e-Azam Benazir (Prime Minister Benazir) as Election Officer Abdul Ghani Somroo handed over the nomination papers,” Abbasi’s son Munawar told AFP by phone from Larkana.
The PPP has pulled out of the elections on the basis of her disqualification and formed a separate wing called the Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians (PPPP) to contest the elections without her.
Party leaders say they will elect Bhutto prime minister should the PPP, which is fielding some 280 candidates, win the election. —AFP