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Pakistan's Opposition Parties Meet to Draw Up List of Poll Demands


Pakistan's opposition parties are meeting to draw up a list of demands they say President Pervez Musharraf must meet to prevent a boycott of the January 8 parliamentary elections.

The meeting participants include the political parties of former Prime Ministers Benazir Bhutto of the Pakistan People's Party and Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz. Mr. Sharif and Ms. Bhutto met Monday and said the ballot would not be free and fair under Pakistan's current state of emergency.

Members of Ms. Bhutto's party Tuesday said one of their key demands is the formation of an independent election commission to make sure that votes are not rigged in President Musharraf's favor.

Mr. Sharif also has called for the reinstatement of Supreme Court judges fired under emergency rule.

Opposition members say they hope to finalize their work in the next day or two.

An election commission has rejected the candidacies of both Nawaz Sharif and his brother, Shahbaz Sharif, for the upcoming parliamentary elections. Election officials cite the former prime minister's past criminal convictions.

Separately, Shahbaz Sharif faces possible arrest today on murder charges. He is accused of ordering security forces to kill suspected criminals in 1998 while he served as chief minister of Punjab province.

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