M A I N   N E W S

Benazir to have say in interim government

Islamabad, October 21
Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf is expected to form an interim government next month in consultation with former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, MMA leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman and PML-Q leader Chaudhry Shujaat Hussein after the Supreme Court decides on his re-election in uniform.

Musharraf will finalise the name of the caretaker Prime Minister and other members of the interim set-up, which will supervise the general election due by mid-January, after holding negotiations with these three leaders, Geo TV reported today.

The beleaguered military ruler, whose re-election in the October 6 presidential poll has been challenged in the apex court as he contested the election without giving up the post of army chief, had earlier said that the caretaker government would be formed after the term of the national and provincial assemblies ended on November 15.

Musharraf will "not talk to any other leader for the formation of the caretaker set-up" and will finalise the interim government after the Supreme Court rules on his eligibility in the presidential poll, the channel quoted sources as saying.

The General had promised to doff his uniform on being re-elected. He swept the election boycotted by Opposition parties but the apex court has said the result cannot be officially notified till it decides on his candidature.

The government has asked Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party to wait for the apex court's decision on Musharraf's candidature as well as petitions challenging the National Reconciliation Ordinance before beginning talks on forming the caretaker government, The News reported today.

“The PPP team was told that you would have to wait at least till November 1 for holding discussions on the caretaker set-up,” a source was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

“The PPP team was told to delay the issue till the Supreme Court verdict as the position will be changed if the apex court rules against the National Reconciliation Ordinance,” the source said.

The controversial ordinance was issued by Musharraf to give amnesty to Bhutto and other politicians in graft cases.

The report said the PPP was likely to accept former State Bank of Pakistan chief Ishrat Hussain as the caretaker premier.

Bhutto has nominated senior PPP leader Makhdoom Amin Fahim and former Federal Investigation Agency chief Rehman Malik to hold talks with Musharraf's aides on the formation of the caretaker set-up. National Security Council Secretary Tariq Aziz and Pakistan Army vice-chief, Lt Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani, tipped to succeed Musharraf as army chief, have been talking to the PPP on behalf of the President. — PTI



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