Pakistan election: Sharif 'would end' war on terror role

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Media captionThe BBC's Orla Guerin: "Nawaz Sharif now confident of a comeback"

The man tipped to be Pakistan's next prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, has said he would end the country's involvement in the US-led war on terror if elected.

Mr Sharif told the BBC that the move was necessary for there to be peace in Pakistan and elsewhere in the world.

Pakistan has been part of the US-led fight against Islamist militancy in the region since the 9/11 attacks.

Voters in Pakistan are due to go to the polls on 11 May following an election run-up marred by violence.

It is the first time in the country's history that an elected government will hand over power to another elected government.

'Lasting peace'

The remarks by Mr Sharif, leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N), may cause concern among Western leaders, the BBC's Orla Guerin reports from Islamabad.

Image caption Supporters of the PML-N have been attending election campaign rallies

"It's a matter of detail," he added.

They fear it could lead to militants having greater freedom to operate in Pakistan, as foreign troops prepare to leave Afghanistan in 2014.

One of the key questions for the West is how Pakistan's next prime minister will tackle militants on home soil, our correspondent says.

Asked whether he would take Pakistan out of the war on terror, Mr Sharif said: "Yes, we have to."

But he declined to say whether he would stop military operations against the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

The business magnate, who served as Pakistan's prime minister twice in the 1990s, said he wanted to work with other countries to find a lasting peace in the region.

Meanwhile, there was further violence on Wednesday ahead of the elections.

At least three people were killed and about 25 injured - including six policemen - in a suicide bombing outside a police station in the Bannu region of north-western Pakistan on Wednesday.

Police said that it was not clear if the target was the police station itself or a nearby rally being held by the Awami National Party (ANP).

The Pakistani Taliban have threatened to prevent the ANP, as well the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) and the MQM party, from conducting their election campaigns because they are considered by the militants to be too liberal.

Meanwhile, doctors said on Wednesday that they expected Pakistani politician Imran Khan to make a full recovery despite fracturing his spine falling off a makeshift lift at a campaign rally.