Imran demands Musharraf to step down

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Mumbai, Dec 28 (UNI) Legendary Pakistani cricketer turned politician Imran Khan today blamed President Pervez Musharraf for former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's assassination, and charged that free and fair elections were not possible under the present regime.

Addressing a press conference here, he demanded installation of a caretaker government of consensus, agreed upon by all political parties in the country, and said free and fair elections can be held only after President Musharraf steps down and the judiciary is reinstated.

Imran, who arrived here last night from Lahore, said he was shocked at Benazir's assassination and described the incident as a huge tragedy for Pakistan.

Describing her as a friend from their University days, he said that she was more brave and bold than any man he knew. ''Nobody could have dared to venture out after being targeted the way she was shortly after her arrival in Pakistan on October 18,'' he added.

He said Benazir was his political opponent because he did not agree with her decision to support President Musharraf in a power sharing deal at America's behest.

He said that he blamed Musharraf for Benazir's assassination because her arrival in Pakistan after 8 years of self-imposed exile was perceived to be an American plan.

''Everyone knew she was under threat. Musharraf himself had survived two suicide attempts and since he moves around Pakistan amid unprecedented security cover,'' he said.

''After Benazir survived an assassination bid in Karachi, why was not she provided similar security like Musharraf and why proper inquiry was not made into her complaints regarding threats to her life,'' he sought to know.

Imran said that he is returning to Pakistan tomorrow where he will discuss the scenario with his coalition partner, All Party Democratic Movement (APDM).

He said that the coalition has already boycotted the January 8 polls and he was prepared to talk to anyone, except President Musharraf, for restoration of democracy in Pakistan.

He urged India to support the people's movement to restore democracy in Pakistan.

UNI

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