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Pakistan Opposition Makes Plans for New Government


Pakistan's opposition parties are planning their next move in the formation of a new government, including selecting a new prime minister and weighing the fate of President Pervez Musharraf.

Leaders of the Pakistan People's Party and the Pakistan Muslim League-N party met separately with their supporters Saturday to discuss several proposals.

Both parties say Makhdoom Amin Fahim, vice president of the Pakistan People's Party, has emerged as a top candidate for prime minister.

Opposition parties are also determining what role, if any, President Musharraf will continue to play in the new government. The PPP and PML-N have agreed to work together to form a government of national consensus, after emerging victorious in last week's parliamentary election. Their coalition could threaten President Musharraf's hold on power.

Opposition leaders say they have met with western envoys who are calling for the parties to co-exist with the beleaguered president in order to ensure a smooth transition to democracy.

The PPP and PML-N decided to join forces after finishing first and second, respectively, in Monday's parliamentary vote. President Musharraf's PML-Q party placed third.

Pro-Musharraf party leaders also met Saturday in Islamabad to discuss their role in the new government.

President Musharraf has dismissed calls by some opposition leaders for his resignation.

The former army general has been a key ally of the United States in its fight against al-Qaida and Taliban militants, but has been under fire in his country since imposing a state of emergency last November and dismissing several judges.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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