Sunday, May 25, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Let Pervez time his exit as army chief: Jamali

Islamabad, May 24
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali has called on the Opposition to stop pressuring President Pervez Musharraf to relinquish his position as head of the armed forces, saying that the General should be allowed to decide the timing of such a move.

Mr Jamali said General Musharraf agreed with Opposition leaders that he should not hold the posts of the head of state and the chief of the armed forces simultaneously. He said the Opposition should not insist on a time frame for him to give up his military role.

“There is no ambiguity on this issue,’’ Mr Jamali said yesterday of General Musharraf’s position. On Thursday, a coalition of hard-line Islamic groups, Mutahida Majlis-e-Amal, demanded that General Musharraf should give up his military post by August 14.

Mr Jamali, a Musharraf ally, was elected Prime Minister during the vote and runs the day-to-day affairs of the government. But Musharraf still has ultimate power as President, with the right to dissolve parliament. AP


Pak oppn predicts national crisis

Islamabad, May 24
Pakistan’s opposition parties today predicted a national crisis if President Prevez Musharraf refused their demands to quit the military.

“There will be resistance if General Musharraf does not quit and the (current political) crisis will deepen,” Mr Makhdoom Javed Hashmi, chief of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, said.

“The combined opposition parties have more votes from the masses than the ruling party and its allies, and the will of the people will prevail,” Mr Hashmi said.

“In the interests of the nation and the country we request that (the ruling party) realise that the reign of General Musharraf must end,” Mr Hashmi said.

Prime Minister Zafarullah Jamali is this weekend considering a list of recommendations based on 18-day talks between the ruling and opposition parties on revising controversial constitutional amendments made by General Musharraf in August. AFP


Pak, USA discuss defence ties

Islamabad, May 24
A senior US diplomat met Pakistani defence officials to discuss ways to enhance cooperation between the two countries in defence and other fields, officials said today.

Mr Lincoln P. Bloomfield, Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs, met Pakistani Defence Secretary Hamid Nawaz and other senior military and air force officials.

The two sides discussed “matters of mutual interest,’’ according to a statement. AP

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