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Musharraf plans for polls by Jan 9

President Pervez Musharraf announces on Sunday that elections in Pakistan would be held within the next 60 days, reports Kamal Siddiqi.

world Updated: Nov 12, 2007 03:22 IST
Kamal Siddiqi
Kamal Siddiqi
Hindustan Times

President Pervez Musharraf announced on Sunday that elections in Pakistan would be held within the next 60 days, possibly around January 9 next year.

Addressing his first press conference after taking the extreme step, the Pakistani president, however, added that the emergency would remain in force for the time being.

“The emergency strengthens our hand to fight terrorism,” said Musharraf, pointing to the suicide bombings and other bomb blasts which had

greatly “disturbed the environment in the country.”

He said he had consulted many before taking the decision to bring it into force. “It was one of the most difficult decisions of my life,” he said.

“The emergency will ensure absolutely fair and transparent elections, because we will not interfere,” Musharraf added. He said he was ready to invite international observers to oversee elections. The general said national and provincial assemblies would soon be dissolved and elections to all would be held on a single day.

Musharraf again confirmed that he would soon shed his military uniform and take a fresh oath as a civilian president. He said he was only waiting for the Supreme Court to give its decision on a case that had challenged his candidature for president.

First Published: Nov 11, 2007 15:31 IST