Musharraf in a catch-22 situation as PML divided on poll issue

November 14th, 2007 - 10:16 am ICT by admin  
Sources said that the majority of the Cabinet members and a large number of the legislators have urged the President to defer the polls, saying the situation is not conducive.

The News quoted them as saying that Musharraf spent about half of the day on Wednesday with the ruling coalition legislators at the Prime Minister House to discuss the matter. But he is still undecided on the subject, as he did not speak his mind candidly.

Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri strongly opposed the idea of delaying the elections. He was of the view that early elections were in the interest of the country, and said the government should take along major opposition parties on the arrangements for ensuring free and fair elections.

Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad, Textiles Minister Mushtaq Ali Cheema and State Minister Malik Amin Aslam Khan also called for an early election.

Rashid argued that in case elections were held early, the ruling party would win with comfortable majority and would lend support to the President.

On the other, a majority of ministers, including for Water and Power Liaquat Ali Jatoi, for Parliamentary Affairs Dr Sher Afgan Niazi and for Commerce Humayun Akhtar Khan, opposed early elections.

Sources were quoted as saying that Musharraf plans to discuss the matter with all the provincial governors and the chief ministers before taking a final decision about elections and dissolution of the assemblies.

The paper said that the attitude and course of action to be followed by former premier and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) chairwoman Benazir Bhutto would have decisive impact on a decision to be made by Musharraf.

Benazir is believed to have adopted a harsh tone abruptly because she wants to strengthen her bargaining position. Her efforts to rally the opposition parties around her demands could be yet another action replay of the charter of democracy episode when she signed the document with her archrival Nawaz Sharif in London while her interlocutors were busy in clandestine dialogue with a presidential team.

Sources further said that Benazir is being provided full protocol during her movement in the capital and the presidential camp is hopeful that with the involvement of players who helped in so-called national reconciliation in September they could force her to come to terms and desist from resorting to harsh approach. (ANI)

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