Former Pakistan premier Nawaz Sharif has said his party will decide on providing a "safe exit" to President Pervez Musharraf after the Feb 18 poll but insisted that the law required that the former General, who had ousted him, be tried for tampering with the Constitution.
During an informal chat with a group of journalists in Islamabad on Thursday night, Sharif was asked if he would favour any move to provide a "safe exit" to Musharraf.
He replied, "I will give you the answer to this question only after February 18." He, however, pointed out that the trial of those who abrogated the country's basic legal framework is a must under Article 6 of the Constitution to "permanently block" martial law in the future.
Article 6 states that any person who abrogates or subverts the constitution by using force or by other unconstitutional means will be guilty of high treason.
Sharif was hopeful that the PML-N and the Pakistan People's Party would form the government in the centre and in the politically crucial Punjab province despite fears of the the poll being rigged.
The PML-N will join hands with the Awami National Party to forge a coalition government in the North West Frontier Province, he said.
"The PML-N, however, will sit in opposition if the PPP and the PML-Q join hands under Musharraf," Sharif said.
Sharif, who was deposed by Musharraf in a bloodless coup in 1999, said only the reinstated members of the judiciary who were deposed during last year's emergency would be in a position to try those who had committed high treason under Article 6 of the constitution.