'Mush has run out of political options'

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New York, Sep17: The deportation of former Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif would make ''difficult'' the ongoing negotiations between Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party (PPP) and President Pervez Musharraf, a senior PPP leader said.

''The PPP dialogue with Gen Musharraf has certain parameters, which Ms Bhutto has emphasized. One of her conditions has always been that there must be a free and fair election with the return of all the exiles, including Mr Nawaz Sharif,'' Aitzaz Ahsan, a Pakistani lawyer who won reinstatement for Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and a senior PPP leader, said in an interview with Newsweek.

''It (the deportation) shows that Gen Musharraf has run out of political options. He committed a crime under Pakistani law by abducting a man and moving him from point A to B against his will,'' Mr Ahsan, who was Interior Minister in Benazir Bhutto government, said. Criticising the West for supporting a ''tottering, slipping Pervez Musharraf'', Mr Ahsan said the re-election bid by the military ruler would trigger a turmoil.

''I think the turmoil will start the day Gen Musharraf files his nomination papers. Then the initial stages of a movement against him will begin, similar to the movement that supported the chief justice. That is a movement the West should have embraced. But it seemed to have been too enamored with a tottering, slipping Pervez Musharraf.'' The senior PPP leader alleged that the President ''a fraud on the Constitution'' by seeking to get re-elected from assemblies (the National Assembly and four state assemblies) which have only one month's tenure left.

He claimed that even if Gen Musharraf was re-elected, it will not impart legitimacy on his rule. ''I think Musharraf's re-election is going to be a non-election, a virtual election in the modern sense of the term, an election that appears to be something that it is not. It's not going to impart any legitimacy to him,'' Mr Ahsan said.


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