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Pakistani Officials Prepare Caretaker Government as Musharraf Opponents Talk Unity


Pakistani officials are finalizing plans for a caretaker government that will succeed the current parliament and oversee January elections. VOA's Barry Newhouse reports from Islamabad that while President Pervez Musharraf tries to make the elections appear credible despite emergency rule, his opponents are busy uniting against him.

November 15 has long been considered a crucial date on Pakistan's political calendar because it marks the official end of the current parliamentary term - as well as the presidential term of General Musharraf.

But when he imposed emergency law and suspended the constitution earlier this month, he said while parliament would still expire this day, he would continue to serve as president and army chief.

Ahsan Iqbal, a spokesman for former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's party, says General Musharraf's actions are uniting his political opponents.

"On these demands there is complete convergence among all opposition parties," he said. "And that gives hopes that they may form a formal or informal alliance for the restoration of democracy, which will be very broad-based."

News reports say Mr. Sharif has been speaking with his rival and fellow former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, about uniting against the president.

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