Pakistan Election: Bhutto says Musharraf refuses to implement
reforms before election in Pakistan:
Pakistan - Former Pakistani prime minister Benazir
Bhutto threatened to inflict a "severe blow"
to the re-election plan of President Gen. Pervez
Musharraf by pulling her party's legislators
out of parliament unless he yields in power-sharing talks.
threat was part of frantic, last-minute manoeuvring before
Saturday's presidential election by national and provincial
legislators that Musharraf is expected
to win, assuming his lawyers can fend off two more legal
challenges to his candidacy. The Supreme Court was hearing
the cases Thursday.
an interview broadcast late Wednesday, Musharraf
still expressed confidence he would win a new five-year
presidential term and dismissed the mass boycott by opposition
legislators aimed at robbing the vote of legitimacy.
"Out of 1,170 representatives only 163 have resigned,
so how can you say that it could discredit the election
of the president?" he told Geo TV.
offered some conciliatory words for Bhutto,
whose party he said could play a role in curbing terrorism
and extremism, which he said presents the biggest danger
is going on with them. We saw politics of vendetta between
1988 and 1999," Musharraf said of Pakistan's
last period of civilian rule.
has seen his standing shaken this year after he tried
and failed to oust the country's top judge. He has also
struggled to contain a surge in Islamic militancy that
has seen tracts of Pakistan's volatile northwest move
out of state control.
said power-sharing talks between her and Musharraf
were "totally stalled" and the country could be heading
toward "street agitation." She said Musharraf's
intransigence had pushed her Pakistan People's party to
the brink of joining other opposition groups in pulling
their legislators from parliament to undercut the validity
of the vote.
probably today or tomorrow we will resign," she said in
London, where party leaders are holding a crisis meeting.
think the resignation of the Pakistan People's party will
be a severe blow to the legitimacy of the presidential
information minister Tariq Azim denied
Thursday the talks are stalled.
is an ongoing process and we are still optimistic for
an understanding with Benazir Bhutto
and we are trying to address her concerns," he said.
last week signalled he would restore civilian rule if
re-elected, eight years after he seized power in a coup.
His heir apparent as army chief was named Tuesday.
Bhutto's party said he has failed to
budge on a host of other demands, including allowing her
to return to Pakistan and seek a third term as prime minister.
led the government twice between 1988 and 1996 but was
overthrown both times amid allegations of corruption and
Tuesday, Musharraf's government said it had revived talks
with Bhutto - a claim her party has yet to confirm. It
also indicated it was ready to drop old corruption cases
against her, clearing her way to go home eight years after
she left to avoid arrest on suspicions registered by another
exiled former leader, Nawaz Sharif.
government has given few details about the proposed amnesty
other than that it would apply to other politicians -
not only Bhutto - and would cover cases
up to 1999 in which people had not been convicted. Bhutto,
however, said the immunity plan seemed to be aimed at
helping Musharraf's own supporters.
who intends to return to Pakistan on Oct. 18, is demanding
a constitutional amendment that would allow her to seek
the prime minister's job again. She also wants Musharraf
to cede the president's power to dissolve parliament and
reforms to guarantee parliamentary elections due by January
are free and fair.
is prepared to say this will be done at some indefinite,
indeterminate future time. But none of it can be done
for the presidential election and after the presidential
elections, well it's another day, and we will see," Bhutto
said Wednesday she wants to build a moderate Pakistan,
shift to civilian rule and tackle social and economic
problems and Musharraf claims he wants the same things.
fact, on the ground, nothing has changed from nine months
ago," Bhutto said.
has spread. Our tribal areas have become safe havens for
militants. Our schools for girls are being shut down there."
are being beheaded. Our people yearn for stability and
security...for safety from suicide bombers and roadside
bombers. The present regime cannot salvage the situation."
the latest violence, militants holding some 230 Pakistani
soldiers killed three of them before dawn Thursday, after
the army raided guerrilla hide-outs near the Afghan border,
© 2007 The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.
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