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Pakistan's Sharif Says Government to Expel Musharraf


Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif says the ruling coalition has agreed to remove President Pervez Musharraf from power.

Speaking Wednesday to mark the 10th anniversary of Pakistan's first nuclear tests, Mr. Sharif said the widower of slain opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, Asif Ali Zardari, agreed in talks on Tuesday to oust Musharraf.

Zardari's Pakistan People's Party (PPP) leads the coalition government, which took power two months ago. Mr. Sharif heads the second-largest party in the coalition, the Pakistan Muslim League-N party. The parties joined forces after finishing first and second in the country's February elections.

In his speech today, Mr. Sharif said there is no reason for Mr. Musharraf to have what he called a "safe exit" and called for the president to be punished as a traitor.

Zardari and Mr. Sharif met Tuesday to decide on constitutional reforms put forward by the PPP chief that would considerably weaken President Musharraf's powers. The talks ended without an agreement on that issue.

Musharraf's spokesman has denied rumors Musharraf is considering quitting.

Zardari and the former prime minister have also been deadlocked for weeks on how to restore judges suspended by President Musharraf last year. Mr. Sharif's party wants an unconditional reinstatement, while Zardari wants to link their reinstatement to the constitutional amendments.

President Musharraf declared a state of emergency in November and fired judges who questioned the legitimacy of his re-election as president while serving as Pakistan's top military officer.

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

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