The Pakistani president has said that he will not allow Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif, exiled former premiers, to return to Pakistan before upcoming general elections.
"About their return before elections, no, there is nobody returning before elections," said Musharraf, who is both the president and the chief of the army.
Pervez Musharraf said this on Friday in an interview with Aaj, a private TV channel.
He also said he would seek re-election before calling for parliamentary polls.
Musharraf's remark appeared designed to end speculation that he could strike a deal with Bhutto to broaden his fragile support base.
Bhutto, who leads the popular Pakistan People's Party, went into exile in 1998 over corruption cases pending against her and her husband.
Sharif was sent into exile in December 2000, a year after Musharraf toppled him in a bloodless coup.
The two politicians, who each ruled Pakistan twice between 1988 and 1999, have repeatedly said they would defy Musharraf and return home to lead their parties in elections due before next year.
Their hopes got a boost from an ongoing judicial and political crisis sparked by Musharraf's removal of the country's chief justice.
Last Mod: 18 Mayıs 2007, 12:05