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Pak general elections in Feb 2008: Minister

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Sher Niazi said elections for the national as well as provincial assemblies would be held in 2008.

india Updated: Apr 08, 2006 15:39 IST

Pakistan would go to polls in February 2008 instead of next year as was earlier scheduled while the presidential vote would take place within 30 days after the completion of the general election process, a senior minister said.

The existing national and provincial assemblies would complete their five-year term on November 16, 2007 and the next general elections should be held within 90 days after their dissolution, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Sher Afgan Niazi said.

The elections for the national as well as provincial assemblies would be held in February 2008, he told the media on Friday.

They would be followed by the polls for the new president within 30 days after the completion of the general election process, he said

Niazi said that the President was bound to dissolve the present assemblies under Article 52 of the Constitution after the completion of the five-year period.

The last general elections for the National Assembly and four provincial assemblies were held on Oct 10, 2002 and the assemblies were constituted on November 16, 2002.

President Pervez Musharraf, who took over power in a military coup in October 1999, was elected for a five-year term by the National and Provincial Assemblies within a month after that. 

Pakistan opposition parties, which were expecting the polls to be held next year, expressed displeasure with Niazi's announcement that the elections would be held in February 2008.

"We are expecting the elections to be held soon after the term of the National Assembly ends next year. The government wants to drag the polls schedule to gain maximum time," Pakistan People's Party (PPP) spokesman, Faratullah Babar, said.

Both PPP, headed by former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, and Pakistan Muslim League-N, led by deposed Premier Nawaz Sharif, said they might boycott the polls if their leaders who currently lived abroad were not permitted to return home before the elections. Bhutto lives in Dubai in self-exile fearing arrest in connection with a host of corruption cases registered against her while Sharif, who was sent on an exile to Jeddah, currently is in London.