Pakistan's opposition demands immediate timetable for polls

Lahore:  Pakistan's main opposition leader Nawaz Sharif demanded on Wednesday that the government immediately announce a timetable for elections.

He spoke after talks in Lahore with main opposition parties as tens of thousands of protesters led by populist cleric Tahir-ul Qadri camped outside parliament in the capital Islamabad, demanding the government quit.

"We decided that the government should, without any delay, announce a schedule for an election and a caretaker government," Mr Sharif told a news conference.

Under the constitution, a caretaker government replaces the outgoing administration for up to three months before a general election can be held.

Opposition parties and the governing coalition both oppose Mr Qadri's call for the government to quit immediately and for a caretaker administration to be set up in consultation with the military and judiciary.

The cleric says this would allow the caretaker body to introduce key reforms to ensure the polls are fair.

"We do not support any anti-constitutional steps," Mr Sharif said. "We strongly oppose any attack on the institutions and democracy."

Story First Published: January 16, 2013 20:14 IST

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