Bhutto party in talks

ISLAMABAD - The party of assassinated Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was considering various coalition options yesterday after its win in crucial parliamentary elections.

ISLAMABAD - The party of assassinated Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was considering various coalition options yesterday after its win in crucial parliamentary elections.

"We are in contact with other like-minded political parties to discuss the formation of a government of national consensus," Farhatullah Babar, spokesman for Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party (PPP) said.

In a development that undoubtedly shocked embattled President Pervez Musharraf, pictured, a key US ally in fighting the Taliban and al-Qaeda, the PPP and other opposition parties cruised to victory in Monday's polls. Unofficial results showed Bhutto's party in the lead, followed by fellow opposition leader Nawaz Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

Leaders from both parties immediately demanded Musharraf resign.

Bhutto's widower, Asif Ali Zardari, who took over as PPP chairman after her slaying, was expected to meet Sharif today in Islamabad. In return for Sharif's support, the PPP could ensure he forms a government in Punjab province, the country's most important region, where PML-N emerged as the biggest winner. - Sapa-DPA

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