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Pakistan's Bhutto, Sharif Set Demands For Election; Keep Boycott Option Open


Pakistan's former Prime Ministers Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto say they will draw up a list of demands the government must meet, or they will boycott upcoming elections.

In a show of unity, the two ex-premiers said if their demands are not met, their parties will not participate in parliamentary elections January 8.

Mr. Sharif and Ms. Bhutto said a committee will finalize the demands within the next few days.

They said under the current state of emergency, the ballot would not be free and fair.

Pakistan has been under emergency rule for one month. President Pervez Musharraf has said he will lift the order on December 16.

Earlier Monday, Mr. Sharif was dealt a blow when the Pakistan's election commission rejected his candidacy.

A top election official, Raja Qamaruz Zaman said Mr. Sharif's nomination papers were rejected because of past criminal convictions.

Mr. Sharif dismissed the ruling, telling supporters he will continue to fight for the people of Pakistan whether or not he is in office.

Last week, Ms. Bhutto said her Pakistan People's Party would take part in the elections, but "under protest."

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