Thursday, October 14, 1999 Published at 07:43 GMT 08:43 UK
World: South Asia
Pakistan in political vacuum
Opposition supporters have been celebrating the removal of the prime minister
A political vacuum has developed in Pakistan two days after the military dismissed the country's civilian government in a lightning coup.
General Musharraf, the army chief-of-staff, on Wednesday sought the support of President Rafiq Tarar for the establishment of a caretaker administration. But without an official statement, it is being presumed in Islamabad that there was no real breakthough.
Without declaring martial law, he cannot dissolve the National Assembly.
Although there was still no sign of the army's promised policy statement on Thursday morning, the military stepped up its attack on Mr Sharif and accused him of hatching a conspiracy against it before he was ousted.
The NNI news agency quoted an army spokesman as saying: "We have got certain evidences which prove that Nawaz Sharif was busy in conspiracies against the army."
The streets of Pakistan remained peaceful on Thursday, and many people have expressed relief at the removal of what correspondents have described as an increasingly unpopular government.
Airports that were closed on Tuesday have also been reopened.
However the international community is stepping up pressure on Pakistan to restore democracy as soon as possible.
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan made a similar call on Pakistan, saying a military takeover was not the way to solve problems. He said he hoped "the current crisis will not exacerbate the already tense situation in the region".
The Commonwealth warned that it may suspend Pakistan if it does not restore democracy very speedily.
Secretary-General Emeka Anyaoku said what had happened "flies in the face" of democracy and "isolates the Pakistani regime".
The European Union has decided to delay indefinitely the signing of a partnership agreement with Pakistan, and the International Monetary Fund said aid might be suspended if democracy were not restored.
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