President Pervez Musharraf will lift the state of emergency in three weeks' time, Pakistan's ruling party chief Shujaat Hussain has said.
"I'm sure it will end in two to three weeks as President Pervez Musharraf is aware of the consequences of long emergency rule," the 'Dawn' reported on Wednesday, quoting the Pakistan Muslim League-Q head as saying. The military ruler had imposed emergency on Pakistan on Saturday, citing the deteriorating law and order situation in the country.
"Nobody is in favour of emergency. It was promulgated reluctantly by the Chief of the Army Staff," Hussain said. Asked if general elections would be held as planned earlier, he said, "postponing the elections may favour some individuals or parties but not us".
However, Hussain ruled out any possibility of a pre-poll arrangement with former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party. "This could be considered after the general elections in which we will be rivals."
"But we are ready to meet PPP Chairperson Benazir Bhutto and her aides to discuss steps which may help improve the political climate and ensure transition to full democracy," he said.
Hussain also rejected the Opposition's allegations that polls would not be held in a free, fair and transparent manner under Musharraf and that the ruling party would be allowed to rig them.
"Gone are the days when elections could be easily manipulated," he said, adding that after the lifting of the state of emergency, political parties would start a full-fledged poll campaign.