Pak may have hung parliament after Feb polls: Musharraf

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Davos (Switzerland), Jan.25 : Explaining his government's plan on transition of power to a civilian set-up at the World Economic Forum being held here, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has hinted that a hung parliament could emerge out of the February 18 general elections.

Predicting the possibility of a coalition government with a prime minister at its head, the Daily Times further quoted him as saying that: "We have to go for co-existence in running the political affairs for the sake of stability and well-being of people."

"If needed, I will be prepared to facilitate forming a coalition government for the sake of harmony and success of the democratic process," agency reports quoted him as saying further.

He also told the Financial Times that he would be prepared to work with a prime minister from the Pakistan People's Party (PPP).

"I have no choice. According to the Constitution, the president has certain powers, but the government is run by the prime minister of Pakistan," he said.

In the interview, he rejected suggestions from western analysts that Pakistani intelligence services were losing a grip on Al Qaeda supporting militants.

"The intelligence services are doing a good job," he said, adding that the recent spate of suicide bombings were "an irritant".

He also hit out at the retired generals who this week said that they no longer had confidence in him.

"They are insignificant personalities. Most of them are ones who served under me and I kicked them out. There is no clout in the army."

He termed the retired officers as mere "paper tigers".

He also said that there is the possibility of the new parliament throwing him out with a two-thirds majority, but insisted his election for president was in line with Pakistan's Constitution.

"The day I realize that I can't contribute [for the country] and people don't like me to continue, I will quit," the president told the BBC.

He said democracy would strengthen after the elections and energize the fight against extremism and terrorism.

He said illiteracy and deprivation were root causes of terrorism and extremism, and developed states should help Pakistan overcome poverty.

"Please, look at Pakistan from Pakistan eyes... not with the eyes of your misconceived Western views of human rights and democracy," he added.

He said he knew his popularity had reduced but most Pakistanis still wanted him in office.

President Musharraf insisted judges had been sacked for "corruption and nepotism" and said the independence of their replacements was not in question. In his interview with CNN, he said "four or five" people were inciting people of Pakistan to agitation. He said 75 percent of talk shows on television were against him. "I closed them down ... because some of them were inciting agitation," he added.

"I don't give much credence to Gallup polls in Pakistan at all," he said during the interview.

To a question at the Forum, he said that the Kashmir issue had been put on sidetrack for a short period, but India and Pakistan intended to resolve the issue. He told the Wall Street Journal that there was "confusion" in the aftermath of Benazir Bhutto's assassination as to how she was killed.

ANI

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