London, Feb.16 : The Pakistan Muslim League (Q) has reportedly distanced itself from President Pervez Musharraf as his popularity rating continues to plummet days ahead of the general election. hough PML (Q) President Shujaat Hussain has been careful not to criticise Musharraf directly, he told the Daily Telegraph that he had disagreed with several major decisions taken by the government over the past five years.
Hussain said that he would reverse Musharraf's US-driven policy by seeking a political solution to the conflict in Waziristan, where the Pakistan Army is battling militants linked to the Taliban and al-Qa'eda.
"We believe that politics rather than force will resolve the issue. It is the only answer," Hussain said, adding that Musharraf has "done his level best" at a time when President George W Bush had been "very aggressive" in coercing Pakistan to support the US-led war on terror.
He also blamed last year's massacre when commandos stormed Islamabad's radical Red Mosque, killing more than one hundred militants and students, including girls, "as a mistake by the administration".
In order to divest himself of the blame for the assault, Hussain met the mosque's surviving mullah this week.
From their rural stronghold of Gujrat, Hussain and his first cousin Pervez Elahi have risen to dominate Pakistan's politics.
Over a dozen of their close relatives are standing as parliamentary candidates for the PML-Q; and according to Dawn newspaper, members of their clan make up nearly a quarter of the party's regional candidates in Punjab.
They claim their wealth stems from the family's textile business but have not been able to escape the perception that they have prospered under the Musharraf regime.
The "Q", as the party is known, is beset by allegations of poll rigging and disunity, and has been blamed for food and energy shortages. Rejecting the allegations of electoral fraud, Hussain, claimed that it would win an electoral majority.
He added that he would be willing to enter a power-sharing deal with Asif Ali Zardari of the Pakistan's People's Party, despite a bloody feud between the two families.