Ex-Pakistan PM Tosses Hat Into Election Ring

Musharraf welcomes rival, rejects US military action against al-Qaeda
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 9, 2007 6:00 PM CST
Supporters of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif try to burn a poster of Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf outside the residence of deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry in...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Former Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif launched his party into next month's elections today, dropping a boycott threat after Benazir Bhutto and other hopefuls decided to run, the AP reports. “We cannot leave the field open,” a party spokesman said. Sharif's party was one of 33 in an opposition coalition that failed to reach consensus over a boycott today; they voted to let each choose its own fate.

Musharraf said today he would let Sharif and Bhutto run for office, and chided critics for “thinking that in the developing countries there is no law and there is all dictatorship.” He also rejected the idea of unilateral US military action in Pakistan against al Qaeda, saying he would share intelligence but “the prerogative must remain with Pakistan.”