Pakistan junior minister quits

Protests Musharraf's plans to remain army chief and urges the opposition to unite.

    Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto have called for the restoration of democracy [GALLO/GETTY]
    "I personally think that there should be a national consensus for a package deal among all mainstream political parties to draw a mechanism to go ahead and jointly work to further strengthen democratic institutions in the country,"

    Musharraf, who gained power in a bloodless military coup in 1999, wants to be re-elected as president-in-uniform by the national and provincial parliaments between mid-September and mid-October.

    His opponents say that this is unacceptable and would defy the constitution.
     
    Musharraf setback

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    Musharraf had suffered a setback last week when the Supreme Court - who had reinstated Ifitkhar Mohammed Chaudhry, the chief justice – also ruled that Nawaz Sharif, a former prime minister, is allowed to return from exile.

    Musharraf has reportedly sent senior aides to London to meet with Benazir Bhutto, another former prime minister, amid speculation that they are trying to form a power-sharing deal.

    However, Bhutto has said that she will not deal with Musharraf unless he quits his army post.

    Both Sharif and Bhutto have said that they intend to return to Pakistan to contest general elections that are due by early 2008.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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