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Nawaz's party wants Musharraf to go

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz has also called for the formation of a national government and rescheduling of the entire election process.

world Updated: Jan 19, 2008 16:31 IST

With less than a month remaining for Pakistan's general elections, the party led by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif is insisting that President Pervez Musharraf must quit.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has also called for the formation of a national government and rescheduling of the entire election process.

"The government can't change the polling date only," PML-N senior vice president Javed Hashmi told IANS, referring to Islamabad's decision to put off the polls from Jan 8 to Feb 18 following the assassination of Pakistan People's Party (PPP) chief Benazir Bhutto.

Hashmi said no free and fair elections were possible as long as Musharraf, the former army chief, remained at the helm of affairs.

"He (Musharraf) should step down immediately, he is the biggest problem and cannot be a solution," said Hashmi, who led the party when Sharif was in exile in Saudi Arabia and London.

Hashmi, who remained in jail for six years after the military took over in 1999 after overthrowing Sharif's government, said scores of people who were not eligible to contest due to their age limit when the elections were announced now stood qualified to be candidates.

Such people could be accommodated only if the government rescheduled the entire election process, he said.

He said Pakistan was passing through its worst political, judicial and economic crises and a government of national consensus was the only solution to save the country from becoming a "failed state".