Benazir Bhutto's party would try to remove Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf if it wins next week's parliamentary elections, a senior party official said yesterday.
"The ouster of Musharraf will put Pakistan back on the track of real democracy," said Babar Awan, a member of the central executive council of the Pakistan People's Party.
Recent surveys ahead of Monday's polls show the party running well ahead of the pro-Musharraf group.
"We will win if the elections are not massively rigged," Awan said.
Awan's comments came one day after Musharraf warned opposition parties not to immediately claim election fraud and stage demonstrations after the vote.
Another opposition party, headed by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, rejected Musharraf's warning, saying it would stage nationwide protests if it believes the election was manipulated.
"We know Musharraf wants to rig the elections," said Sadiq ul-Farooq, a senior member of Sharif's party. "If he does it, we will force him to quit through street protests."
Although Musharraf is not up for re-election, he needs a commanding majority in the legislature to block any move to impeach him.
Recent surveys show support for his ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q) fading and the opposition poised for a landslide victory. Opposition politicians fear the results will be manipulated in hopes of assuring the ruling party enough seats to block any impeachment.
During remarks to a seminar in Islamabad on Thursday, Musharraf said that "despite all rumors, insinuations and every type of apprehension, these elections will be free, fair, transparent and peaceful."
"We don't know who is going to lose and who is going to win," he said, adding that "there will be no rigging."
The former general, who seized power in a 1999 military coup, said he was committed to democracy, "but not if it leads to the country being declared a failed state."
He called on parties to "show grace" if they lose and refrain from calling their followers into the streets to allege fraud.
US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack criticized Musharraf's suggestion that he would not tolerate protests.
"People have the right to peacefully protest and to peacefully speak out on their opinions regardless of whether those opinions are supportive of a government," he said.
"Our view, and we have expressed these to all important actors in Pakistani political life, is that they should devote their energies to ensuring that this is the kind of election in which the Pakistani people can have confidence," McCormack said.
The US is Musharraf's principal foreign supporter because of his role in the war against terror.