Pakistani opposition forms coalition for elections


Story Transcript

ZAA NKWETA, PRESENTER: Thousands of Pakistani troops fanned across the country today in preparation for parliamentary election scheduled for February 18. Former political archrivals Nawaz Sharif of the Pakistan Muslim League (N) and Benazir Bhutto’s Pakistan Peoples Party agreed to form a coalition in order to win a majority of seats in next week’s parliamentary election.

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ASIF ALI ZARDARI, CO-CHAIRMAN, PAKISTAN PEOPLES PARTY (SUBTITLED TRANSLATION): If we do not take the nation with us it’ll be very hard to save Pakistan. We want the whole nation to stand together. For this we need Nawaz Sharif’s full support.

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Sharif held a rally today, vowing to defeat President Musharraf.

NAWAZ SHARIF, LEADER, PAKISTAN MUSLIM LEAGUE (N) (SUBTITLED TRANSLATION):
60 million people will give a guarantee that after February 18, this commando general will go back to his home.

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Tensions in Pakistan remain high. Lawyer-led protests are revving up again, and suicide bombers have struck opposition rallies twice in the past few days. With rising inflation, power shortages, and surging violence, Musharraf’s popularity remains at an all-time low. However, retired General Talat Masood believes a victory by Bhutto’s party is not a fait accompli.

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TALAT MASOOD, RETIRED GENERAL, PAKISTANI ARMY: They would have an advantage by virtue of the fact that they would be winning very clearly in Sindh. But at the same time, unless they win in Punjab, you know, their victory will not be full proof.

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Voter turnout for the election is estimated at 30 percent. At stake are 270 seats in the lower house of Parliament.

DISCLAIMER:

Please note that TRNN transcripts are typed from a recording of the program; The Real News Network cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.