Opposition leader Bena-zir Bhutto said Friday her party has enough support in Parliament for her to form a government and become the first woman to lead a Moslem nation.
Results from Wednesday's elections, the first democratic balloting since 1977, showed that Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party received the largest number of seats in the National Assembly but did not win an overall majority.Bhutto said at a news conference that enough independent parties had joined her party or pledged support for a Bhutto government to give her a legislative majority.
"We have a simple majority, based not only on agreement but also on people joining the PPP," she said. "We expect the president will call on us as soon as possible (to form the next government) before the house convenes."
Under the constitution, President Ishaq Khan must choose a prime minister from the party he believes can command a majority in the assembly. An electoral college will vote for a president once the new government is formed.
Army Chief of Staff Mizra Aslam Beg on Friday congratulated Bhutto on her victory and promised a "smooth transfer of power to the newly elected Parliament," a spokesman for Bhutto said.
But former attorney general Yahya Bakhtiar, who is advising Bhutto on constitutional matters, warned of widespread unrest in the country if the opposition party is barred from forming a government.
"I hope (the president) is not out to stop Benazir as that would cause riots in the streets," he said. "The president should have called Bhutto immediately."
Official results from 204 of 207 contests for National Assembly seats gave 92 to the PPP, 7 to an allied party, 54 to the ruling Islamic Democratic Alliance, 40 to independents and 11 to smaller parties.
Another 10 seats are reserved for religious minorities, and 20 more are for women elected by the legislators.
Bhutto, 35, said she met Friday with her aides to discuss the makeup of a possible coalition government and Cabinet selection.
Outlining what she said would be her foreign policy, Bhutto said she would maintain close ties with the United States and seek to improve strained relations with India, with which Pakistan has fought three wars since 1948.
She also pledged her government would not acquire nuclear weapons.
The Harvard- and Oxford-educated Bhutto, who along with her mother spent several years in jail or under house arrest prior to her self-imposed exile in Europe, told Thursday's news conference she believes "a democratic government will further strengthen ties" with the United States. She thanked the Reagan administration for "supporting the democratic process in Pakistan."