M A I N   N E W S

Sharif spurns Pervez offer

Islamabad, July 28
Former Pakistan Prime Minister in exile Nawaz Sharif has rejected President Pervez Musharraf's olive branch by turning down a government offer of an open field to his party in the coming general election, a daily reported today.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Sharif rejected the offer while talking to President Musharraf's emissary Mushahid Hussain (over the telephone from London) yesterday, saying he could not make compromises on the miseries of the Islamic nation, according to 'The News'.

Sharif was of the view that by accepting a deal from Musharraf aimed at ending their eight-year enmity, PML-N could not ditch the people of Pakistan and its political allies who had posed trust in him by attending an All Parties' Conference in the United Kingdom.

The rejection came after Hussain, assigned the task of contacting the Sharifs, told Nawaz's brother Shahbaz that the government intended to invite him to Pakistan for holding talks and deciding the future course of action keeping in view the coming elections.

The President's emissary is reported to have told Shahbaz that Musharraf was behind this initiative and the government was ready to let the PML-N have an equal and fair chance to contest the polls. He even hinted at the President's willingness to allow Nawaz Sharif to return to Pakistan.

In fact, the fresh overtures by the government stem from the recent pressure from the West on Musharraf to sanctify the coming elections and to bring "real democracy" in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, Pakistan has denied reports of Musharraf meeting exiled former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in Abu Dhabi.

"The government has kept its door open for talks with anyone but no such meeting (between Musharraf and Benazir) has taken place," Muhammad Ali Durrani, Pakistan's minister for information and broadcasting, said.

Media reports on Friday said Musharraf held a meeting with Bhutto in Abu Dhabi to clinch a deal to ensure his re-election and her return home from self-exile.

The reports also said that Bhutto had cancelled a parliamentary party meeting of her Pakistan Peoples' Party in London to reach the UAE capital for the meeting. PTI, IANS



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