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Home > India > News > Columnists > Hamid Mir

Musharraf's advisors expect another poll after 6 months

February 17, 2008

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Top Musharraf advisors are expecting a hung Parliament on Monday, which will not survive for more than six months.

One of the advisors did not rule out the possibility of a new election after six months.

Some diplomats also fear that a hung Parliament will not bring stability to Pakistan and the Bush administration will not achieve its goals in the war against terror before the US Presidential election to be held late this year.

The Bush administration has failed to convince Asif Ali Zardari to make a coalition with pro-Musharraf Pakistan Muslim League-Q after the February 18 elections.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice tried her level best to bridge gaps between Musharraf and PPP leadership through some diplomats, but all these efforts proved fruitless.

Some close friends of Pervez Musharraf [Images] were also in contact with the PPP leadership to reach a fresh deal, but the PPP never gave any commitment to them.

Hard hitting language used by the PPP and PML-Q candidates against each other during the election campaign widened more gaps between these two parties.

In the meanwhile, Pakistan People's Party and Pakistan Muslim League of Nawaz Sharif started new talks.

They agreed to fight expected rigging jointly, but they had some difference of opinion on some issues.

Now both PPP and PML-N have quietly agreed to ask for resignation from President Musharraf after the elections.

These two parties have also formulated a strategy about the restoration of judges, but they will announce it if they win the election on Monday.

Some top PPP sources have confirmed that they will not work with PML-Q at any cost.

According to these sources, Musharraf never initiated any serious confidence building measures with the party after the assassination of Benazir Bhutto [Images] on December 27.

The party was also not satisfied with the Bhutto murder investigations and then elections on January 8 were delayed, against the wishes of the PPP.

These sources said that Musharraf assured them after the delay in election that there will be no rigging on February 18, but now the whole state machinery is in action to minimise the victory of the PPP.

There is a feeling in the party ranks that it was not only the Musharraf regime, but the Bush administration that has also cheated.

Bhutto came to Pakistan in 2007 when the Bush administration assured her of a free and fair election.

Now after her assassination, the PPP sees no chances of a fair and free election under the nose of a very trusted US friend.

The PPP leadership have completely lost their confidence in Bush administration. In a very short comment, PPP co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari said, "Enough is enough, now we cannot trust the foreign friends of Musharraf."

The PPP is more interested in briefing the Democratic Congresspersons about the rigging in the election on Monday.

On Saturday PPP leaders gave some documentary evidence of rigging to Democrat Congresswoman Sheila Jackson and on Monday they will meet another delegation of Democrat Senators.

It is also learnt that Musharraf contacted the PML-N leadership recently indirectly and tried to unite the two factions of PML, but there was no breakthrough.

PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif told this scribe that one close friend of Musharraf assured him that if they agree with his suggestion then, "You can trust us. We will hold free and fair election and after few weeks President Musharraf will exit from the scene."

Shehbaz Sharif said that he was not ready to believe that Musharraf can leave his office so easily and that they never gave any serious consideration to that proposal.

Meanwhile, sources close to Musharraf are confidant that PPP and PML-N cannot work together for a long time and they will start fighting with each other in a few months.

They are sure that PML-Q will get a majority in Punjab and in that case the president will allow the PPP and the PML-N to form a government at the Centre.

A trusted friend of Musharraf said, "PPP-PML-N coalition will not survive for more than six months; they will create a situation in which one of them will ultimately come to the President's house for fresh elections."

Shehbaz Sharif said that PPP and PML-N will not accept a fake victory for PML-Q in Punjab.

"We are sure that the presence of Musharraf in the President's Office will be a great source of instability in Pakistan and that is why we will try our level best to oust him immediately after the election with the help of PPP," he added.

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