Lahore, Nov 27: Najam Sethi, the Editor of the Daily Times, has said that Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf may lift the emergency within two or three weeks.
Talking to the Dawn News, Sethi said the emergency would be lifted shortly, but the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) could only be removed by the next parliament, which will be constituted after the January 8 general elections.
He did not rule out the possibility of defections from the Pakistan Muslim League (PML) following the return of PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, saying the PML leadership had admitted that it could lose almost 25 percent of its vote-bank to Sharif. Sethi expressed the view that everyone who did not get a ticket from the PML would now once contact Sharif. He added that except the Chaudhrys, the former premier would probably include anyone who had defected as long as they are “winnable candidates."
Sethi suggested that Benazir Bhuto led PPP and Sharif"s party should make some arrangements in Punjab whereby they could strengthen one another in the constituencies where they were weaker than the PML. This way, the PML would not benefit from their divided vote-bank, he said.
Commenting on President Pervez Musharraf, the Editor said the army wanted the general as President because it believed that politicians with “unbridled powers" might hurt the army and eventually Pakistan. The daily quoted Sethi as saying that the US wanted Musharraf to stay in power, for he had taken some difficult decisions that other politicians might not have taken.
He further said that it was unlikely that the Election Commission would accept the nomination papers of Nawaz Sharif and his brother Shahbaz Sharif, as both were 'technically" convicts. According to Sethi, Sharif"s return to the country after an exile of seven years was the result of pressure that the Saudis had exerted on Musharraf after the return of Benazir.