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'Army, ISI must play no role in polls'

President Pervez Musharraf says the military and intelligence set-up must have no political role to ensure impartial polls.
PTI | By HT Correspondent, Islamabad
UPDATED ON OCT 04, 2007 06:12 PM IST

President Pervez Musharraf has said the military and intelligence set-up should have no political role so as to allow an "impartial and transparent" general election in Pakistan that are likely to be held by mid-January.

The military ruler, who came to power eight years ago in a bloodless coup by ousting former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and is seeking a second term in the October six presidential poll, admitted the powerful Inter-Services Intelligence agency was involved in the political arena for the past five decades.

He said the intelligence agencies and the military should have "no role" in this area and the upcoming general election should be "totally fair, impartial and transparent".

Musharraf said the military was "totally back in barracks".

The general election was likely to be held within two months of the end of term of the assemblies on November 15, he said.
Pointing out that there were no "ifs and buts" on the issue of stepping down as army chief, Musharraf said: "Once my election takes places, before I take the oath I will remove my uniform."

Responding to criticism that he was seeking re-election by national and provincial assemblies whose terms are about to end, Musharraf said during a wide-ranging interview with Geo TV that he would seek a vote of confidence from the new assemblies if he is elected.

"It seems a little strange to me that the presidential election involves outgoing assemblies. I have it in my mind that in case I get elected I would like to look into maybe getting a vote of confidence from the new assemblies," Musharraf said.

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