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Pakistan's Sharif Defends Decision to Contest Election

  • VOA News

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is defending his party's decision to participate in January elections.

Mr. Sharif began touring the country on Monday to rally support for his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Party. He blamed former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto for undermining calls for a broad opposition boycott of the election.

A spokesman from Mr. Sharif's party (Ahsan Iqbal) says the parties could not agree on a common set of demands. He said Ms. Bhutto's party did not support pushing President Pervez Musharraf to reinstate deposed Supreme Court judges.

In an interview with VOA, Ms. Bhutto insisted her party has not yet ruled out boycotting the vote.

Ms. Bhutto said she suspects President Musharraf is rigging the elections to boost the popularity of his (Pakistan Muslim League-Q) party.

Mr. Musharraf has insisted the vote will be fair and has invited international observers to monitor the election.
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