Pak opposition vows unity, as Musharraf gains direct control of emergency rule

November 16th, 2007 - 1:14 pm ICT by admin  

Islamabad, Nov.16 (ANI): Opposition parties in Pakistan have decided to present a united front against the Musharraf regime, even as President General Musharraf transferred control of emergency rule in Pakistan directly to the presidency.
In a sign that Musharraf might be preparing for a transition to civilian president, Parliament was dissolved Thursday at the end of its five-year term, and a caretaker government was announced to oversee the election campaign.
Musharraf decision to control emergency rule was immediately criticized by opposition leaders.
Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto repeated her call for Musharraf to resign as president and army chief.
According to the New York Times, despite the oppositions avowed determination to stay united, keeping them together will not be an easy task as many of the opposition leaders are either in jail or under house arrest, while others have long-held ideological and political differences.
Its a question of them wearing us down with arrests, or we wear them down with demonstrations, Bhutto was quoted as saying by the paper while speaking of the Musharraf regime.
She said the lack of large public demonstrations or unrest had been because so many people were being arrested and the police had been mobilized in force across the country.
But people were still managing to protest, she said. A three-day march she had planned from Lahore to the capital, Islamabad, was going ahead without her, she said, and had run into huge police barricades at Jhelum.
The enormous deployment of police forces showed the scale of the public dissent against Musharraf, she added.
The police cannot go on overextending, and then even the police will not be able to stand up to the people, she said.
The police crackdown on politicians and others showing dissent towards the regime continues unabated, even as U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John D. Negroponte is scheduled to arrive here today to deliver what Washington says a strong message to Musharraf to end the state of emergency.
Officials here, however, said Musharraf seemed unlikely to comply until a newly appointed Supreme Court confirmed his October 6 election to another term as president.
The attorney general, Malik Muhammad Qayyum, said that he expected that decision by next week from the new, more compliant court sworn in since the emergency decree, and that General Musharraf would resign his military post by December 1.
Qayyum said General Musharraf could remain president, despite the end of his term, since the Constitution allows the departing president to remain in the post until the new president is sworn in.
In the meantime, Senate Chairman Mian Muhammad Soomro has been appointed the chairman of the caretaker government, which will oversee parliamentary elections due in the first half of January.
According to the Dawn, Soomro and a 15-member cabinet will be sworn in on Saturday morning. (ANI)

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