Pakistani elections in doubt

Dec. 29, 2007 at 1:20 PM
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Dec. 29 (UPI) -- President Pervez Musharraf's office says it will confer with all of Pakistan's major political parties before deciding whether to hold elections Jan. 8.

The scheduled parliamentary elections were thrown in doubt by the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto Thursday.

Pakistan's caretaker prime minister, Muhammadmian Soomro, said he wants elections held as scheduled but would confer first with leaders of the major parties, KUNA reported Saturday.

The Pakistan Muslim League -- the main opposition party of Nawaz Sharif -- has said it will boycott the elections. Bhutto's party, the Pakistan Peoples Party, has called for 40 days of mourning for her death and is unlikely to support elections until the mourning period ends, the Kuwait news agency reported.

The United States Friday urged the parties not to seek a long delay.

"We want to see smooth and safe elections go forward," Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher said at a briefing in Washington.

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