Bhutto, Sharif firm up alliance ahead of polls | india | Hindustan Times
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Bhutto, Sharif firm up alliance ahead of polls

india Updated: Jul 01, 2006 17:04 IST

In a bid to firm up an alliance for next year's polls, former Pakistan premiers, Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharir will hold talks with leaders of the 16-party opposition grouping in London on Sunday.

Bhutto and Sharif, who recently hit the headlines after signing a Charter of Democracy (COD) to work for the removal of military from politics, would discuss the COD as well as their strategy for general elections with the leaders of the Alliance for Restoration of Democracy (ARD).

Sources in Bhutto's Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) said the two leaders were in an upbeat mood after US Secretary of Condoleezza Rice asked the Pakistan President to ensure the polls are held in a fair and free manner.

Musharraf has persistently been ruling out permitting Bhutto and Sharif to return from exile to take part in the polls but at the same time has been negotiating for support of their parties.

However, the two of them are insisting that they be allowed to return home first.

The London meet was expected to focus on the strategy of the non-Islamic parties if Musharraf goes ahead with his plans to get re-elected by the National and Provincial assemblies before they are dissolved.

Meanwhile, ruling PML-Q leaders have held talks with the Islamist alliance Muttahida Majlis Amal to get their support for Musharraf's plan to get re-elected by the existing assemblies.

PML-Q leaders held talks with Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the Chief of Jamat-e-Ulama Islami, (JUI) and Secretary General of MMA to clinch a quid pro quo deal to get his support for Musharraf's re-election.

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