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Timeline: Pakistan votes after year of turmoil

Musharraf, who came to power as a general in 1999, became enmeshed by a political crisis last year as he maneuvered to extend his presidency to 2012.
By HT Correspondent | Reuters, Pakistan
UPDATED ON FEB 18, 2008 09:47 PM IST


Musharraf, who came to power as a general in 1999, became enmeshed by a political crisis last year as he maneuvered to extend his presidency to 2012.

Here is a chronology of political events in the past year.

March 9, 2007: Musharraf suspends Supreme Court Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry on allegations of misconduct. Lawyers rally around the top judge and Musharraf's popularity plummets.

July 10: Musharraf orders troops to storm the Red Mosque in Islamabad to crush a Taliban-style movement. About 105 people are killed. A wave of militant attacks and suicide bombings follow.

July 20: Supreme Court reinstates Chief Justice Chaudhry, dealing a blow to Musharraf's authority.

July 27: Musharraf meets former premier Benazir Bhutto in Abu Dhabi to discuss moving towards a civilian-led democracy. Bhutto sets conditions including that Musharraf step down as army chief. Sept 10: Nawaz Sharif, the prime minister Musharraf ousted in 1999, is arrested at Islamabad airport, despite having the Supreme Court's clearance to return from exile.

Oct 2: Musharraf designates a successor as army chief. Government says it is dropping corruption charges against Bhutto, clearing the way for her return.

Oct 6: Musharraf wins the most votes in a presidential election by the National and provincial assemblies, but must wait for Supreme Court to rule whether it violated the constitution.

Oct 19: Suicide bomber tries to assassinate Bhutto in Karachi as she returns from eight years of exile. Nearly 140 people are killed.

Nov 3: Musharraf imposes emergency rule.

Nov 11: Musharraf says national election will be held by January 9 but under a state of emergency.

Nov 13: Bhutto placed under house arrest for a week in Lahore, hours before planned march against emergency rule.

Nov 15: Musharraf appoints Senate chairman Mohammadmian Soomro to head a caretaker line-up to oversee elections.

Nov 22: Commonwealth suspends Pakistan after earlier issuing ultimatum for Musharraf to end emergency and quit as army chief.

Nov 25: Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif returns from exile, touching down in his stronghold of Lahore.

Nov 28: A tearful Musharraf sees General Ashfaq Kayani sworn in as army chief at army headquarters in Rawalpindi.

Nov 29: Musharraf is sworn in as a civilian leader. He calls the event a milestone in Pakistan's transition to democracy.

Dec 9: Sharif says his party will contest election.

Dec 15: Musharaff ends state of emergency, restores constitution.

Dec 27: Bhutto assassinated in gun and bomb attack on election rally in Rawalpindi. At least 16 people killed in blast.

Dec 30: Bhutto's party appoints her son and husband to succeed her, and says it will contest election.

Jan 2: Election Commission postpones vote from Jan 8 to Feb 18 because of disturbances after Bhutto's assassination.

Feb 18: Polls open at 8 a.m. (10 p.m. Sunday EST). Results expected to start emerging by midnight, with trends clear by Tuesday morning.

Source: Reuters

(Writing by David Cutler and Gillian Murdoch, Singapore Editorial Reference Unit)

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