Pakistan polls boycott would help Musharraf: Bhutto

Former Pakistan prime minister Benazir Bhutto said Sunday an opposition boycott of upcoming polls would only help President Pervez Musharraf legitimise his imposition of emergency rule.

Pakistan polls boycott would help Musharraf: Bhutto
Bhutto said she would meet early next week with former rival Nawaz Sharif, who has called for a boycott of the January 8 election, to discuss the issue.

'If we all boycott elections, then it will give Musharraf a two-thirds majority in the parliament to validate his provisional constitutional order,' she told a press conference in northwestern city of Peshawar, an Islamic political stronghold.

'That is why we are saying that we will take part in elections under protest, but we will also leave the door open (to talks on a boycott).'

'I am getting conflicting signals from Nawaz Sharif and Qazi Hussain Ahmad about (an) election boycott as they have filed nomination papers and if someone does that it means he is taking part in election,' Bhutto told reporters.

Ahmad is the chief of Islamist alliance Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, which is also divided over boycott issue.

Bhutto made the comments after launching the election campaign of her Pakistan Peoples Party here on Saturday.

She said she had decided to take part in elections despite fears they would be rigged by the government.

'They (the government) have a plan to rig the elections. They have created improvised or ghost polling stations and also have a plan to steal thousands of ballot papers a night before election and give them to their candidates,' she said.

She accused the government of making 'bulk' transfers of key officials ahead of the elections and said mayors from the former government were misusing public funds.

'The government should suspend all mayors and cancel transfers (of officials),' she added.

Bhutto said the election commission had not given her the list of voters in her constituency and was demanding 30 million rupees (500,000 dollars) to do so.

'This is unfair and many parties cannot pay such a huge amount for the voters' list,' she said.

She said she was meeting Sharif so they could reach agreement on whether to boycott the polls.

'Moderate and democratic forces must work together. I have signed a charter of democracy with Nawaz Sharif and we are committed to this charter,' she said.

Musharraf imposed emergency rule on November 3 and suspended the constitution by issuing his own provincial constitutional order as chief of army staff.

He was sworn in for a second term as president on Thursday after standing down as army chief, and has said he will lift emergency rule by December 16.

He has also said he wants to make next month's elections free and fair.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 02 Aralık 2007, 18:59