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Pakistan's Sharif calls for elections to be held as scheduled on Jan. 8

Pakistan's Sharif calls for elections to be held as scheduled on Jan. 8

Opposition leader Nawaz Sharif said Monday that Pakistan's parliamentary elections should be held Jan. 8 as scheduled despite the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.
He also said Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf should resign and be replaced by a national unity government.
"He is a one-man calamity. He is responsible for all the trouble in Pakistan. The country is burning," he said.
Sharif spoke as it began to appear that the government would delay the parliamentary election, which had been touted as a crucial landmark in restoring democracy to this nuclear armed country.
"No one among us wants elections to go beyond Jan. 8," Sharif told a news conference in Lahore.
The former prime minister accused Musharraf of trying to escape from participating in the election and using the Election Commission as a tool for delaying the poll.
Sharif said that if he is elected prime minister, he would not work with Musharraf, saying the former army chief was "responsible for the current chaotic situation in the country."
Sharif said if Musharraf did not resign, "God forbid, this country is doomed. His only interest is in his own survival, not the survival of the country," he said.
Musharraf seized power in a 1999 coup that overthrew Sharif's government.
Sharif also called on the international community to withdraw its support from Musharraf.
"The United States should see that Musharraf has not limited or curbed terrorism. In fact terrorism is now stronger than ever before with more sinister aspects," he said.
Musharraf is seen as a key U.S. ally in the fight against the resurgent Taliban and al-Qaida. The Islamic militants have become increasingly active along Pakistan's border with Afghanistan in recent months.
"The international community should not antagonize the people of Pakistan for the sake of one man. It should support democracy. It should support political parties that are farsighted and pragmatic and can play a constructive role in putting Pakistan on a path of moderation," he said. "With Musharraf in power, Pakistan does not have a future."
Sharif also said the government was not properly protecting the election candidates.
"The security that has been provided for us is absolutely inadequate. I have been going all over the country and I have seen hardly any security from the government side," he said. He noted that on the day Bhutto was killed, while he was campaigning nearby, gunmen opened fire on a rally of his supporters, killing five people.
He said the government should provide the opposition leaders with armored cars as they do for federal ministers.
The government has said Sharif is among several political figures who are under threat of assassination by Islamic militants.


Updated : 2021-05-13 12:22 GMT+08:00