Expressing fears that former Premier Benazir Bhutto might reach a political rapprochement with President Pervez Musharraf, deposed Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has urged her not to strike any deal with the General.
57-year-old Sharif, the leader of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), told 'The Sunday Times' that he feared Bhutto might be planning to trade her opposition to the military ruler for a chance to return to office.
"She told me we're not cutting any deal with the government but in interviews she has said, 'Yes, there are talks going on'. I'm pleading with her not to go down that road," he said.
For Sharif, any deal by Bhutto that prolonged the military ruler's tenure would be a blow. "I hope and pray we don't talk to people who are destroying the institutions of the country," he said.
Sharif, forced into exile by Musharraf in 1999, said he had a pact with Bhutto that they would not deal with the military-controlled government.
Sharif and Bhutto, who heads Pakistan People's Party (PPP), are the two most popular politicians of Pakistan and have each served two terms as Prime Minister.
Both are planning to return to contest the general elections, scheduled to be held towards the end of this year, despite a constitutional amendment passed by Musharraf barring anyone from serving a third term. They face threats of arrest and deportation.