M A I N   N E W S

Bhutto, Aziz hold talks

Islamabad, September 3
Former Pakistan prime minister Benazir Bhutto held fresh round of talks on Monday with President Pervez Musharraf’s top aide Tariq Aziz in an effort to seal a power-sharing deal.

The crucial round of talks was held in Dubai between Pakistan People’s Party chief and National Security Adviser Aziz to make last ditch efforts to end the deadlock and reach an agreement on a power-sharing deal between President Musharraf and the exiled former premier, The News said in a report from Dubai.

Negotiations held in London last week between the two-time prime minister and President Musharraf’s top aides ended in deadlock, with Benazir saying that she would return to Pakistan regardless of an agreement with the General.

Washington: Ruling out any compromise with Musharraf, exiled former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has called for the ousting of military-backed government.

“... A uniform has no place in our constitution, has no place in politics. An army has no role in politics according to our law and according to our constitution,” Sharif said in an interview with CNN’s “Late Edition” on Sunday.

Asked if Musharraf is acceptable on shedding uniform, Sharif replied: “Whether he gets himself elected in uniform or without uniform is unacceptable. And this is why the total... the entire civil society of the country, the 160 million people are struggling for...”

Sharif also held out the prospect of getting arrested on his return to the country this month though “no charges of corruption exist” against him.

“...Musharraf says if I come back to Pakistan, he’ll arrest me. There are no charges of any corruption. There are no cases against me.

“If he wants to manufacture cases against me, that is his choice because he doesn’t believe in the rule of law, he doesn’t believe in the constitution, ethics, morality. He believes in might is right, he believes in the law of the jungle,” the head of Pakistan Muslim League-N party said.

Sharif said he had reached an agreement with former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto to fight against the military rule and that he stand by it.

“... Myself and Benazir Bhutto — have signed a charter of democracy which states very clearly that Democrats must not talk to dictators. And we would jointly launch a struggle for undiluted democracy in Pakistan. And I stand by this,” he said.

“We both signed not to enter into any deal with dictators as that will only amount to strengthen the hands of dictators, so that’s not serving the cause of democracy,” he said.

Sharif was asked to respond to where Pakistan would stand in the war on terror if he were to emerge once again as the Prime Minister.

“I am against terror as much as anybody else in this world. And I have been fighting terror. We had excellent rapport with President Clinton when I was a prime minister. And we both fought terror even then.

“And then you can’t win the battle against terror when the nation is not behind you. So I think a democratic government can effectively fight terror with the support of the parliament, with the support of the people of the country, which is of course not there with Musharraf,” he added.

He slammed the west, particularly the US, for backing Musharraf. “... We have been cooperating with the United States, but then of course Musharraf is being supported as one individual against the wishes of the 160 million people.” — PTI/IANS



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