Islamabad: Opposition leader Nawaz Sharif accused Pakistan's US-allied president on Monday of ordering anti-terror operations that have left the country "drowned in blood," in his first major campaign speech since the slaying of Benazir Bhutto.
The country's politics seems to be fluid ahead of the polls, which the United States and other Western nations hope will usher in a period of stability as the country battles rising attacks by Al Qaida and Taliban militants.
Sharif, who was ousted by Musharraf in a 1999 coup, made his comments to a rally of 3,000 supporters near the capital, Islamabad.
The criticisms were among his harshest of Musharraf and his alliance with Washington forged after the September 11 attacks and appeared aimed at gaining support from hardliners.
"Musharraf has destroyed Pakistan. He is blindly following America's orders," said Sharif. "The whole of Pakistan is drowned in blood." Sharif heads a secular party but in the past has forged ties with hardline parties.
He alleged the army left "girls riddled with bullets" when it raided a pro-Taliban mosque and female seminary in the capital last year.
The government said more than 100 extremists were killed in the operation, and disputed claims that female students also died.