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Central & South Asia
Caretaker government for Pakistan
Plan unveiled after Musharraf vows to quit as army chief and become civilian president.
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2007 07:02 GMT
Musharraf is to remain in office as both army chief and president until a supreme court ruling [AFP]
Pakistan's president and his aides are finalising a caretaker government as the current parliament's five-year term comes to an end.
 
Pervez Musharraf's concurrent presidential mandate also expires on Thursday.
The government said Musharraf, as the incumbent, would remain in office as both army chief and president until the supreme court rules on the legality of his victory in an October 6 presidential election.
Pakistan's attorney-general said the decision was expected at around the end of next week.
 
Musharraf to quit
 
Musharraf imposed emergency rule on November 3, suspending the constitution, getting rid of hostile judges, rounding up thousands of opponents and curbing the media.
 

Your Views

"I am very worried and angry - Musharraf should realise that we don't need him"
 
Avas, Islamabad, Pakistan
 
The interim government will be sworn in on Friday.
 
The remaining  provincial assemblies are to be dissolved around November 20.
 
The current parliament is the first one to serve its full term in the history of Pakistan.
 
The caretaker administration will oversee parliamentary elections to be held by January 9.
 
The opposition, most of whom are either detained, exiled or under house arrest, are considering whether to boycott of the polls, saying they can be neither free nor fair under the state of  emergency.
 
Minister hopeful
 
Tariq Azim Khan, the deputy information minister, said consultations had been held and he was hopeful the caretaker administration would be acceptable.
 
"There hasn't been any open round-table conference. Consultations are done privately through different channels and that sort of consultation has been done," he said.
   
But Farhatullah Babar, a spokesman for the Pakistan People's Party of Benazir Bhutto, said they had not been consulted.
 
"Even if the people are known to be of integrity and independent it won't make much difference because the entire environment of the election process is questionable," he said.
 
Pakistani newspapers have tipped the chairman of the senate, Mohammad Mian Soomro, as interim prime minister.
  
Bhutto-Sharif unity?
 
In a related development, Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif, both former prime ministers, are reported to have agreed on uniting against against Musharraf.
 

Bhutto was served a detention order after she
threatened to lead a motorcade protest [AFP]

The two leaders have agreed to launch a "joint struggle" against Musharraf, said Raja Zafar-ul Haq, chairman of Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-N party.
  
The two spoke on Wednesday by telephone, officials from both parties said.
  
"She has assured she will continue the struggle against General  Musharraf until he resigns from both offices," Haq told AFP.
  
"He is not acceptable, neither as president nor as army chief."
  
Previous alliance
 
Bhutto's party confirmed the pair spoke but said she would give details of their conversation later in the day.
  
A previous alliance between the two broke up over Bhutto's  contacts with Musharraf.
 
Bhutto, who says she has killed off power-sharing negotiations with Musharraf, is currently in the eastern city of Lahore under a detention order, while Sharif leads his party from exile in Saudi Arabia.
  
Another opposition figure contacted by Bhutto earlier in the  week, Imran Khan, the former cricket captain, was moved to Lahore's biggest prison early on Thursday after being charged under anti-terror laws for  protesting against emergency rule.
 
In other news, a US diplomat was allowed on Thursday to cross the barricades and heavy police cordon surrounding the house in Lahore where Bhutto has been confined.
 
'Courtesy call'
 
Sherry Rehman, a Bhutto spokeswoman, said Bryan Hunt, the US consul-general in Lahore, was making merely a "courtesy call" on Bhutto.

Imran Khan was held in Lahore after he joined
a student demonstration on Wednesday [AFP]
However, it comes a day after the White House issued a blunt call for Musharraf to relent and on the eve of the US deputy secretary of state's visit.
 
John Negroponte, who last week cautioned against cutting aid to an "indispensable" ally, is due in Pakistan this week.
 
Also on Thursday, international news channels BBC and CNN and two local stations returned to Pakistani screens after authorities relaxed a ban imposed under the state of  emergency.
 
Aaj, an Urdu channel, and Dawn, which broadcasts in English, are two of the country's biggest channels.
 
But two leading private channels, Geo and ARYOne, remain off air.
Source:
Agencies
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