Pakistan politics testy ahead of presidential vote

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) -- The U.S. is keenly awaiting the outcome of this Saturday's presidential elections in Pakistan, considered a key ally in the war against terrorism.

But just days before the voting, the political situation in Pakistan is getting increasingly testy.

Pakistani prosecutors confirm they're pressing ahead with corruption cases against opposition leader Nawaz Sharif (nah-WAHZ' shah-REEF'). Supporters say the move is aimed at further sidelining Sharif's party ahead of the elections.

Members of the main governing Pakistan People's Party insist the judicial proceedings have nothing to do with them.

The news is threatening to further sour the main ruling party's relations with Sharif, a popular figure in Pakistan.

Asif Ali Zardari, head of the Pakistan People's Party and widower of slain ex-Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, is expected to easily win the presidency in Saturday's vote by lawmakers. Sharif's party is fielding a retired judge as its candidate.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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