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Bhutto killing: Sharif holds Musharraf responsible

Former prime minister Sharif says any inquiry should be conducted only after Musharraf steps down.

world Updated: Dec 28, 2007 03:47 IST

Nawaz Sharif, another former prime minister of Pakistan, on Thursday held President Pervez Musharraf "responsible" for the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto during an election rally in Rawalpindi and said any inquiry should be conducted only after he steps down.

"Pervez Musharraf is responsible and accountable for what happened today," Sharif told a private news channel in an interview.

"I hold his policies responsible for landing this country into the terrible mess," a shaken Sharif said.

"Nobody has confidence in Musharraf. Everybody wants him to step down and hold the inquiry (into Benazir's death)," he said.

Recollecting his recent interactions with Bhutto, Sharif said: "We had a good rapport, although we were rivals. She, in fact, called me on December 25 to wish me on my birthday. She personally called me and sent bouquets for me. She always came up as a warm and pleasant person."

Sharif said Bhutto had come down to Jeddah when he was in exile and later decided to work together to reinstate democracy in Pakistan. "We had a long meeting - four-hours long meeting -- and we decided to agree upon a common charter of democracy."

"We both felt that the army had no role in politics because she was also the victim of army's intervention and so am I. There was so much in common between us. We were struggling for the restoration of the rule of law," he told the television channel adding that there were plans for a joint strategy and seat adjustments between them.

Bhutto, 54, was killed in a suicide attack after an election rally in Rawalpindi. At least 30 of her Pakistan People's Party (PPP) workers were also killed in the terror attack.

Earlier, Sharif told Bhutto supporters outside the General Hospital in Rawalpindi that he would join hands with the PPP and fight their "war".