In the wake of state of emergency declared on 3 November 2007 by Chief of the Army Staff Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's Information Minister Tariq Azeem said that elections are now "on the back burner", with no date set. However, it was later stated they would be held as planned. Musharraf stated on 8 November 2007 that the election would be held by 15 February 2008 He later called for the election date to be on or before 9 January 2008 Even later, he suggested 8 January 2008 as the election date. Following the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, the Election Commission announced after a meeting in Islamabad that a January 8 vote was no longer possible and the election would take place on 18 February.
Addressing a press conference here on Tuesday, he said that a meeting in this regard would be held with PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari on Thursday that aimed at discussing post election scenario.
In an interview with an Indian TV, Shahbaz Sharif said that if opposition would not gain two third majority it means that the voting process is forged.
Despite the blow to President Musharraf, a key U.S. ally, officials here reject the notion the election was a defeat for the Bush administration. They say the United States is ready to work cooperatively with both Mr. Musharaf and the government that emerges from Monday's voting.
Asked about implications for Washington from the Pakistani election, State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack quipped that he did not recall seeing the United States on the ballot.
But he said the parties that gained in the election, led by the Pakistan People's Party of slain former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, all have in one form or another expressed what he termed "an abiding commitment" to combat extremism and terror. He said he hopes that consensus is reflected in the policies of the coalition government that will now take shape:
"What we will urge is that those moderate forces within Pakistani politics, who now have a seat at the table so to speak in winning seats in the parliament, should band together, should work together for a few goals that are in the interest of Pakistan: broaden and deepen Pakistan's economic and political reforms, remain committed to fighting violent extremists and terrorists in the region and on Pakistan soil," he said. "This is in the long-term interests of Pakistan and the Pakistani people."