Ruling party chief: Emergency in Pakistan to be lifted

Updated: 2007-11-07 18:55

ISLAMABAD -- Ruling Pakistan Muslim League (PML) President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain has said that the state of emergency should not last more than three weeks, according to a report in Wednesday's edition of a local English daily.

"I'm sure it will end in two to three weeks as President Pervez Musharraf is aware of the consequences of long emergency rule," he told Dawn Tuesday.

"Nobody is in favor of emergency. It was promulgated reluctantly by the chief of the army staff," the PML chief said, rejecting some politicians' view that it was a "virtual martial law".

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Asked if general elections would be held as planned earlier, Shujaat said that "postponing the elections may favor some individuals or parties but not us" but he did not elaborate.

Meanwhile, Shujaat ruled out any possibility of a pre-poll arrangement with the Pakistan People's Party (PPP), led by former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who arrived Wednesday in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad from Karachi.

"This could be considered after the general elections in which we will be rivals," he added.

"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.

Shujaat rejected opposition's allegation that polls would not be held in a free, fair and transparent manner under President General 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 fully-fledged election campaign.

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