Lahore, Nov. 13 (Reuters): Detained Pakistani Opposition leader Benazir Bhutto called today for Prevez Musharraf to step down as President, isolating him in the run-up to a general election.
Britain stepped up international pressure on Musharraf, who imposed emergency rule on November 3, backing a 10-day Commonwealth ultimatum for him to end the emergency and quit as army chief.
Bhutto has long called for Musharraf to step down as army chief and become a civilian President but it was the first time she had called for him to quit as President altogether. She also said she could never serve as Prime Minister under him. “It is time for him to go. He must quit as President,” Bhutto, who has for months held power-sharing negotiations with Musharraf, said in a telephone interview.
She was speaking from Lahore where she was placed under house arrest for a week, hours before a planned protest procession against emergency rule.
“I will not serve as prime minister as long as Musharraf is President,” Bhutto said. “Negotiations between us have broken down over the massive use of police force ... There’s no question now of getting this back on track because anyone who is associated with General Musharraf gets contaminated,” she said. “The men whose wives have been mistreated, the women who have seen their spouses thrashed and beaten up in front of their eyes don’t want us to have anything to do with General Musharraf.”