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LAHORE: Pakistani opposition politician Imran Khan called yesterday on President Asif Ali Zardari to resign to make way for free and fair elections.
Khan, a former cricket star who captained Pakistan to world cup victory in 1992, has no seat in parliament but has helped to set the political agenda by campaigning on a ticket of reform before elections scheduled by mid-May.
“President Asif Ali Zardari should resign immediately. He cannot hold free and fair elections because he is holding two offices,” Khan told a news conference in the eastern city of Lahore.
Khan was referring to Zardari’s role as head of state and chairman of the main ruling Pakistan People’s Party.
His call came after the Supreme Court issued an order for the arrest of the prime minister over corruption allegations, and as 25,000 people took part in the largest political protest in Islamabad since Zardari’s government took office.
“The government should immediately announce new elections and should also announce a date for it,” Khan said. “Change is not possible without holding of free and fair elections.”
The government has said it will disband parliament only in mid-March at the end of its mandate, after which elections would have to be held by mid-May. Cleric Tahirul Qadri is demanding that a caretaker government be set up immediately. Khan did not back calls for judiciary and military intervention in the caretaker administration. He said it should be created “with mutual consensus and should consist of neutral people”. AFP