ISLAMABAD, Oct 8, Reuter: Former Prime Minister Mohammad Khan Junejo announced the formation of a three party alliance on Saturday to contest next month’s general election in Pakistan and the government pledged the vote would be free and fair.

“The (election) commission will effectively discharge its constitutional obligations of holding free, fair and impartial elections,” S.A. Nusrat, the Government’s Chief Election Commissioner, said in a televised speech.

A new national assembly (lower house of parliament) will be elected in voting on November 16, followed by the four provincial assemblies three days later.

Junejo told a news conference his Pakistan Muslim League (PML) Party was joining forces with the Tehrik-I-Istiqlal party of former Air Force Chief Asghar Khan and Jamiat Ulema-I-Pakistan, an Islamic Party.

He said the new coalition, called the Pakistan Awami (Pakistan People’s Alliance), would present joint candidates and form a coalition government if they won the elections.

A joint statement said the political alliance, the second formed within three days, would mark for an “Islamic, welfare, parliamentary system.”

Junejo said his alliance would welcome other parties wishing to join, although Khan appeared to rule out any alliance with supporters of late President Zia-Ul-Haq, Killed in a plane crash on August 17, with whom he said there was a “wide gap of thinking.”

Eight rightwing and religious parties, mainly of Zia supporters, formed the Islamic democratic alliance on Thursday to oppose Benazir Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).

The PPP, founded by executed former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, is Pakistan’s largest party and dominates the nine party, anti-Zia alliance known as the movement for the restoration of democracy.

Opposition parties have called for the removal of federal and provincial cabinets filled by supporters of the late President and they say will rig the elections, the first multi-party ballot in more than 11 years.

But the demand has been rejected by acting President Ghulam Ishaq Khan, who took office after Zia’s death.

Nusrat, the election official, said all parties had until October 15 to submit formal nominations for national assembly candidates and until October 18 for the provincial assemblies.

The final list of national assembly candidates would be published on October 22 and for provincial assemblies on October 27, he said,

Article extracted from this publication >> October 14, 1988