Islamabad: Amid increasing international and domestic pressure, Pakistan on Wednesday informed Britain and Germany is it keen to hold early elections despite the imposition of emergency as this was in the best interest of the country.
Foreign minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri conveyed the message to his British and German counterparts, David Miliband and Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and Commonwealth secretary general Donald McKinnon on Wednesday.
“The government’s commitment to holding free and fair elections remained unchanged,” Kasuri was quoted as saying by the state-run APP agency.
Explaining the situation in Pakistan, he said the government is very keen to hold early elections since it felt that this was in the best interest of the country. The leaders discussed with Kasuri and sought his input on the situation here.
Meanwhile, former prime minister Benazir Bhutto threatened on Wednesday to lead a mass protest march to the capital unless President Pervez Musharraf quits as army chief, holds elections and restores the Constitution. Bhutto, leader of the largest opposition party, gave Musharraf until Friday to comply.
Government officials have said national elections due in January will be held on time and a member of Musharraf’s inner circle said emergency rule was likely to be lifted within two to three weeks.
But Musharraf, who took power in a 1999 coup and imposed emergency rule last Saturday citing a hostile judiciary and rising militancy, has not yet personally confirmed this.