Emergency to be lifted in three weeks: PML pres

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Islamabad, Nov 7 (UNI) Ruling Pakistan Muslim League president Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain has said that the state of emergency should not last more than three weeks.

''I'm sure it will end in two to three weeks as President Pervez Musharraf is aware of the consequences of long emergency rule,'' he was quoted as saying by Dawn newspaper.

''Nobody is in favour of emergency. It was promulgated reluctantly by the chief of the army staff,'' the PML chief said, rejecting some politicians' view that it was a ''virtual martial law''.

Asked if general elections would be held as planned earlier, he said,''Postponing the elections may favour some individuals or parties but not us.'' However, he did not elaborate.

Chaudhry Shujaat ruled out any possibility of a pre-poll arrangement with the Pakistan People's Party. ''This could be considered after the general elections in which we will be rivals,'' he said.

''But we are ready to meet PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto and her aides to discuss steps which may help improve the political climate and ensure transition to full democracy,'' he added He said the PML was fully geared to contest elections on the basis of its government's performance.

Chaudhry Shujaat rejected opposition's allegation that polls would not be held in a free, fair and transparent manner under Gen Musharraf and that the ruling party would be allowed to rig them.

''Gone are the days when elections could be easily manipulated,'' he said, adding that after the lifting of the state of emergency, political parties would start a fully-fledged election campaign.

Asked about Monday's rumours relating to Gen Musharraf, the PML chief said the army was fully behind the president and, therefore, there was no question of his ouster.

''This could be wishful thinking of some people but I can assure you that Gen Musharraf is not going anywhere.'' Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said that the PML and allied parties fully supported Gen Musharraf's decision to impose emergency in national interest.

UNI

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