Musharraf not to quit until Pakistan turmoil ends

Islamabad, November 14:

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf vowed today not to quit until the country’s political turmoil was over, strongly defending his decision to impose a state of emergency.

In an interview with Britain’s Sky News television, he reiterated that general elections promised by January 9 would be held under emergency rule.

“The day when there is no turmoil in Pakistan, I will step down,” he said. “I am not a dictator, I want democracy.” In brief excerpts released by Sky on its website, Musharraf admitted that the political situation was not going well and called for unity. “Leave the past behind. The country must work together for the best of Pakistan.”

Musharraf imposed emergency rule on November 3 citing Islamic militancy and an interfering judiciary, and has said several times since that he took the decision in the best interests of the country.

The military ruler, who grabbed power in a coup in 1999, is under mounting domestic and international pressure to end the emergency, quit as army chief, restore the constitution and allow free and fair elections.

Bhutto for unity

LAHORE: Benazir Bhutto hammered the phones on Wednesday as she sought to forge a united opposition front against President Musharraf while under hou-se arrest. She has spoken to nine other leading political opponents of Musharraf in the past two days, a senior aide in her party told AFP. They are hoping to reach agreement for an all-party conference later this month — possibly as early as next week. — AFP