Pakistani opposition parties are moving closer to forming a coalition government with an Islamic bloc that made sweeping gains in last month's elections.
The head of the multi-party Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy, Nawabsadah Nasrullah Khan, told reporters today (Monday) the alliance has reached an understanding with Muslim clerics from the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal. Mr. Khan added that the agreement also includes backing the head of the fundamentalist Jamiat-e-ulema Islam, Fazlur Rehman, as prime minister.
But Mr. Khan said the alliance will not formally announce the partnership until it gets final approval from former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, whose Pakistan People's Party is one of the alliance's main members.
The 342-seat Parliament will convene Friday.
Fazlur Rehman has been a vocal opponent of Pakistan's support for the U-S-led war on terror. He also has been a staunch supporter of Afghanistan's former Taleban.
The news of the possible coalition agreement alarmed stock investors, as the benchmark Karachi Stock Exchange ended the day Monday down nearly four percent.