Ex-PMs' return will cause instability: Pervez
This came close on the heels of a threat by former PMs Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto to boycott the 2007 elections in Pakistan.india Updated: Oct 23, 2006 14:34 IST
Close on the heels of a threat by former prime ministers Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto to boycott the 2007 elections in Pakistan if they were not allowed to contest, President Pervez Musharraf said on Sunday their return to the country would cause "political instability".
If Sharif and Bhutto were permitted to come to Pakistan before the polls, it would lead to political instability, Musharraf told Geo TV in an interview.
He said "the federation today was not stronger" compared to the situation seven years ago, when he assumed power.
Musharraf also said he would consider meeting Bhutto and Sharif if they made a request.
His comments came after Bhutto and Sharif met in London two days ago and said they would boycott the polls if they were not open to all political parties.
They also said they would not have any political contacts with the military ruler.
"Musharraf will never be entertained for any contact for political purposes. There will be no negotiation or parleys," Sharif told a joint press conference with Bhutto.
The two leaders said the general election should be held "under a neutral caretaker" and that free and fair polls would be possible only under such a set-up so that Musharraf could not influence the polls.
In the interview, Musharraf reiterated his stand that the army chief should not be the country's head of state but said he held both posts for the country's "better interests".
Replying to a question about seeking proposals from opposition parties for appointing an Election Commissioner, Musharraf said proposals were sought but the parties had refrained from responding.