Pak: Sharif seeks early polls to end political crisis

The former premier said Pakistan cannot allow to lose the hard-earned gains made by democracy.

Islamabad: As confrontation mounted between the Pakistan government and the Army on the one side, and the judiciary on the other, opposition leader Nawaz Sharif said holding immediate polls was the only was out of the crisis.

Asking President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to "not play with the fate of this country any more," the former premier said Pakistan cannot allow to lose the hard-earned gains made by democracy.

"The only way to pull the country out of this crisis situation is to hold polls as soon as possible," Sharif told reporters as tension simmered in Islamabad over the
government`s confrontation with the powerful Army.

"We will not allow them to create any more chaos," Sharif said, referring to the PPP-led government.

It was a day of hectic activity in Islamabad as the government and the Army initiated tit-for-tats moves as part of their posturing.

The confrontation has arisen from the memo scandal after Gilani made public his annoyance over the affidavit submitted by Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and ISI chief Shuja Ahmed Pasha in the Supreme Court without seeking a prior permission from the government.

While the military said Gilani`s allegation that chiefs of army and ISI acted in unconstitutional manner had "very serious ramifications", Gilani hit back by firing the Defense Secretary Lt Gen (retd) Khalid Naeem Lodhi.

Sharif said the developments should not in any way be allowed to undermine democracy.

"We have rendered numerous sacrifices to achieve this goal. We will not allow anyone to take it away from the people or put it at stake," said the PML-N chief.


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