ISLAMABAD, Feb 20: Former federal minister and self-proclaimed Farzand-i-Pakistan Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, who is considered to be close aide of President Pervez Musharraf, on Wednesday predicted fresh elections any time soon, claiming that the new parliament and president could not co-exist for long.

“You will see a cat and mouse game starting within three months,” he told reporters here at a local hotel without explaining who will be the cat or mouse.

However, he made it a point to clarify that the president wanted to continue with the new set-up but “the masters of gloom and crisis” were not willing to see this relationship flourish.

The press conference he called seems more of an attempt to dispel rumours by letting the world know of his presence at home and open-hearted acceptance of the defeat he faced in the February 18 elections.

He also announced to continue his political career by forming his own political party instead of quitting it, but after consulting PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain.

He conceded that Lal Masjid operation had bitten the PML-Q badly and led to the resounding defeat of the party in the elections, adding that “being in the government it was very difficult for us to ask for vote when the voters were without gas, electricity or had no wheat flour or sugar in their homes.”

He, however, averted a direct question that election defeat of the King’s party was the result of toeing President Pervez Musharraf’s policies.

In an advice to the parties which won and were going to form a parliamentary government, he said it was time to show political maturity instead of choosing confrontation, saying the people of Pakistan had given their mandate against the US policies and therefore the ball was now in their court to honour the responsibility vested with them by the people.

To him, Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N had no political role in the new set-up despite performing fairly well by bagging 67 seats in the national assembly, thus hinting that the PPP might form government without the PML-N in their folds.

Despite all this, he feared that the new government would have to toe the American line and challenged those who were demanding restoration of deposed chief justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry to implement their party’s stance.

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