Amid uncertainty over the fate of the January polls in Pakistan, President Pervez Musharraf has said holding the general elections in a free and fair manner and on schedule was his top priority.
Musharraf made the assurance at a meeting with the ruling alliance, including the leaders of Pakistan Muslim League-Q, where it was resolved that the state of emergency would not be prolonged, daily 'The News' reported on Monday.
The President, in his first interaction with the leaders of the ruling alliance after the imposition of emergency, made it clear that the holding of the general elections in a free and fair manner according to the previous schedule would be his top priority, it said quoting highly-placed sources.
However, the ruling alliance is divided on the question and it is expected that the ultimate decision in this regard would be taken in a week.
One group of the alliance is asking for extending the tenure of the present assemblies by at least six months while the other group is of the view that the general elections must be held without any delay and for the purpose the dates already announced must be adhered to.
The Muttahidda Qaumi Movement (MQM) is prepared to go for elections without any delay while the major component of the ruling alliance, Chaudhary Shujaat Hussain-led Muslim League, lacks unity on the question, the sources told the paper.
The meeting was also attended by Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, PML president Hussain and other leaders.