Nawaz not to return home before polls: Musharraf

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Islamabad, Oct 26: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif will not return home before general elections in the country, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has said.

The President exuded confidence that the ruling Pakistan Muslim League will return to power, saying the next prime minister would be from the PML.

Gen Musharraf was addressing about 170 legislators of the party, including federal ministers, at a dinner at the Prime Minister's House.

He denied reports that the local bodies would be dissolved before the polls on the demand of certain parties.

Gen Musharraf said the reconciliation process had been initiated to end the ''tug of war'' between political parties and it was proceeding well, Minister of State for Information Senator Tariq Azeem quoted the military ruler as saying.

The President asserted foreign experts would not be involved in the investigation of the October 18 blasts in Karachi.

''Our own experts are competent enough to undertake this task and they have done it in the past,'' daily Dawn quoted Gen Musharraf as saying. He also denied that foreign troops would be allowed to operate from Pakistan's tribal areas to take on the terrorists.

Meanwhile, exiled PML-N leader Shahbaz Sharif, in a statement, said general elections, without party chief Nawaz Sharif, would merely be ''a stage drama''.

According to a statement, the PML-N leader, addressing a seminar on at British House of Lords, urged western countries and the European Union to ensure free and fair elections in Pakistan.

He said the West was not helping the cause of democracy by supporting a dictatorial regime in Pakistan. He called for promoting democratic forces and political parties to restore democracy in the country.


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