LAHORE, March 2: Sindh PPP Secretary General Nafees Siddiqui says his party wants fresh elections during the current year to give the country a representative setup.

Talking to Dawn on Wednesday, he said after having been isolated at the international level, Gen Pervez Musharraf would have to seek support from a liberal party like the PPP and accept the demand for fresh polls.

The PPP leader said Gen Musharraf was bound to make the ongoing contacts between the two sides a success for his own political interests. Mr Siddiqui said the PPP wanted to take all progressive and liberal forces along for the sake of a strong political system.

In response to a question, he said the PPP was opposed to the 17th amendment and wanted it scrapped immediately. He said Mr Zardari would change the political situation in Punjab after return to Pakistan on March 16. He is scheduled to land at the Lahore Airport and the party plans to give him a befitting welcome.

JOINS PPP: Ex-Khanewal MPA Malik Arshad Maitla on Wednesday joined the PPP, saying this was the only party which could solve problems facing the country. He announced his decision at a news conference in the presence of Punjab PPP President Qasim Zia, Secretary General Rana Aftab, Information Secretary Naveed Chaudhry and others.

The PPP leaders welcomed the decision. Thereafter, he said, Ms Bhutto would also come to Pakistan to lead the party's election campaign. He claimed that many people were approaching the PPP to join the party.

Mr Siddiqui said the situation was changing fast and the PPP was gaining popular support. In the new elections, he said, the PPP would emerge as the majority party in all four provinces.

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