Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf must ensure that the general elections he has announced for mid-February are conducted in a credible manner, the country's newspapers said in their editorials on Friday.
"Will the elections be credible?" the Dawn wondered and then laid down a seven-point wish list to ensure fairness and transparency in the poll process.
"First, the emergency must be lifted. Second, the Provisional Constitution Order (should be) withdrawn. Third, a caretaker government must be installed at the earliest headed by a prime minister who is truly independent and in whom all political parties have confidence, assisted by an election commission that must carry out its duty without fear and favour."
"Fourth, all political parties and leaders must be allowed to take part in the elections. Fifth, there must be an even playing field for all. And, sixth, all the draconian measures against the media must be withdrawn immediately."
"Finally, we hope that the president will not renege on the pledge he gave to the Supreme Court, as it existed before Nov 3, that he would hang up his uniform before taking the oath of office as president 'if elected'," the Dawn said.
The newspaper prefaced this with a warning.
"More elections have been postponed than held in Pakistan. Let us assume and hope that nothing will make the president change his mind, no matter what happens -- even if the Supreme Court rules against him in the case now pending with it on the dual office question," it said.
The Nation echoed these sentiments.
"It is, however, hoped that the announcement of general elections would entail immediate withdrawal of the proclamation of emergency as well as the latest PCO and ensure the country's return to civilian rule through a fair and credible electoral process," the newspaper said in an editorial.
"The government must adopt more flexible approach to deal with the opposition rather than treading the path of confrontation that has already polarised society," it added.