Musharraf opponents leading in Pakistan's initial vote results

Other News Materials 19 February 2008 00:55 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa ) - Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf's allies were lagging behind the opposition parties according to initial unofficial election results of the country's parliamentary elections early Tuesday, while Islamists were losing to the moderate forces.

Several news channels reported that the slain former prime minister Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) seemed to be sweeping through the southern province of Sindh, while Pakistan's Muslim League (PML-N), headed by another opposition leader and ex- premier Nawaz Sharif, was leading in the largest Punjab province.

Preliminary results have come in for only 10 seats of the National Assembly, of which PML-N has won five seats and PPP two, but the progression of the vote counting being followed by media outlets show that Musharraf's ally, the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), was not doing well.

Geo news channel reported that the head of PML-Q and Musharraf's close aid Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain had lost by almost 13,000 votes in his home town against a PPP candidate with 98 per cent of the votes had already been counted.

Former federal minister and another confidant of the president, Sheikh Rashid, had also lost at one of the two constituencies he was contesting the election in.

Monday's polls for the national parliament and four provincial assemblies have been described by many analysts as crucial for the embattled president's survival, as the victory of the opposition parties could lead to impeachment proceedings against Musharraf, a key US ally in the war against terrorism.

Musharraf on Monday said he would accept whichever party won and appointed the prime minister as well as won control of the four provincial governments.

"I do not want confrontational politics because confrontational politics is damaging Pakistan," he said.

In the terror-hit North-West Frontier Province province, the Islamic parties were losing ground to the progressive and nationalist forces.

Muttahida Majlis-e-Ammal, an alliance of six parties which swept through in 2002 elections in the region while riding on a sympathy wave for religious elements due to the US invasion of Afghanistan, had gained only two seats so far in the 124-member provincial assembly.

In contrast, nationalist Awami National Party and PPP were leading with 10 and six seats respectively.