BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Languages
Last Updated: Friday, 20 October 2006, 01:28 GMT 02:28 UK
Ex-PMs urge free Pakistan polls
Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif in London
The two former rivals have allied themselves against Gen Musharraf
Two former Pakistani prime ministers, Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif, have called for "fair, free and impartial elections" in Pakistan.

Speaking in London, both politicians pledged a return to their country to contest the next elections, due to take place in 2007.

The former bitter rivals have agreed to work together against President Gen Pervez Musharraf.

Gen Musharraf ousted Mr Sharif in 1999, seizing power in a military coup.

Neither leader set a date for their return. Ms Bhutto could face arrest on corruption charges if she goes back.

Gen Musharraf said last month he would not allow either politician back into the country.

'Open to all'

This is the third meeting this year between Ms Bhutto, who heads the Pakistan People's Party, and Mr Sharif, who heads the Pakistan Muslim League.

In May, they signed a "Charter for Democracy" setting out their plans for Pakistan's future.

At the news conference, they expressed doubt about Gen Musharraf's commitment to free elections.

"We want the restoration of democracy in Pakistan and impartial elections must be held under a national government of consensus open to all political parties and all personalities," Ms Bhutto said.

"Both of us have agreed that elections must be held under a neutral caretaker set up," Mr Sharif said.

Gen Musharraf has promised general elections next year.




RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific