‘US, Britain want Musharraf to stay’

February 26th, 2008 - 8:04 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Pervez Musharraf

London, Feb 26 (IANS) Senior figures in Pakistan’s two largest political parties say the US and Britain are trying to ensure that President Pervez Musharraf is not removed from his position. Accusing the two countries of meddling in Pakistan’s post-election scenario, senior leaders in the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) told The Times that British and US envoys met several party leaders after the Feb 18 elections.

British High Commissioner to Pakistan Robert Brinkley held talks with PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari Thursday and PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif Friday.

US Ambassador Anne Patterson has similarly met with Zardari and Asfandyar Wali Khan, head of the secular Awami National Party, a potential coalition partner in the new government.

She is due to meet Sharif this week, the paper reported, adding the US consul in Lahore had also met with Sharif’s brother Shahbaz and PPP leader Aitzaz Ahsan.

While British and American diplomats have described these meetings as introductory, party figures told the newspaper that they had been urged not to impeach Musharraf or reinstate Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, the chief justice who was controversially deposed by the president.

“There is huge pressure from America to work with Musharraf, but we’ll do whatever we feel is right,” the paper quoted a PPP figure as saying.

A senior aide to Sharif said: “The British and Americans are working together on this. They don’t understand that it’s time for Musharraf to go.”

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