Islamabad, Feb 4 (IANS) Pakistan's Election Commission will rule Feb 18 on whether it will admit a plea questioning President Asif Ali Zardari's eligibility to hold office after the scrapping of a decree granting amnesty to those charged with graft.
Chief Election Commissioner Hamid Ali Mirza said Thursday that he would review whether the plea was worth hearing and would rule on this Feb 18.
Mirza said he would issue notice to the concerned people only after figuring out whether the case was worth hearing or not.
He also asked the petitioner, Maulvi Iqbal Haider, to file a new plea along with the supporting documents by Feb 18, Online news agency reported.
Haider contended that Zardari's eligibility to hold office could be questioned after the Supreme Court had overturned the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) granting amnesty to those charged with graft.
Haider is the head of a nondescript party, the Awami Himayat Tehreek, formerly named the Pervez Musharraf Himayat Tehreek, or movement for the support of the former president.
Musharraf promulgated the NRO in October 2007 granting immunity from corruption charges to slain former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and her husband Zardari, as also some 250 politicians and bureaucrats, and had enabled them return home from exile.
On Dec 16, 2009, a 17-member Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry ruled that the decree was illegal and against the constitution.
This ruling is now hanging over the heads of Zardari, as also over Defence Minister Ahmad Mukhtar, Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Pakistan's
Ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani, former principal secretary to Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and presently Executive Director of the Asian Development Bank Siraj Shamsuddin and former Intelligence Bureau chief
Brigadier (retd) Imtiaz, among others.
Zardari, on his part, has said he was willing to face the courts if it was ruled that he did not enjoy presidential immunity.