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Benazir, Sharif will not be allowed to contest : Musharraf

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Dec 5 (UNI) Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has said that former Prime Ministers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif will not be allowed to contest elections in the country most likely to be held between November 2007 and January 2008.

''If they come to Pakistan, Nawaz will be sent on next flight back out and Benazir will have to stand trial...Firstly, one of them is convicted. The other also is convicted. Both of them are convicted actually. One of them has gone out for 10 years for an agreement, by himself. And the other is out since...,'' General Musharraf said in an interview with NDTV.

Asked whether he would give up his Army uniform, Gen Musharraf said he would hold on to his army uniform till the elections and after the elections, he would decide what Pakistan's constitution said.

He, however, said he needed the uniform to maintain unity in the country.

The Pakistan President dismissed the suggestion to outright reject the uniform and said it was not easy, because there are some perceptions. At this moment Pakistan needed a unity of command over important organs of State.

''That includes the military...the political set-up and the bureaucracy. A unity of command over them. The unity of authority over them. And I give that unity through maintaining the uniform,'' he added.

Asked who would win the elections, he said moderate and enlightened forces should achieve victory over religious elements and onscurantists.

''Moderate forces, enlightened forces must win against these religious elements...obscurantists...I call them. They must go down to the level where they were before. They never had more than three to four percent. Now they have about 17 or 18 percent in the Assemblies. They are running one of the provinces. They must be defeated,'' he added.

UNI RB PA RS2223

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