Central & South Asia
Pakistan sets emergency end date
Announcement comes as three Bhutto supporters are killed in Baluchistan province.
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2007 10:16 GMT
Musharraf imposed emergency rule on November 3 in a move that triggered off mass protests [Reuters]

Pakistan will lift emergency rule and restore the suspended constitution on December 15, a day earlier than previously announced, according to Malik Mohammad Qayyum, the Pakistan attorney-general.
"It will be on the 15th," Qayyum said by telephone on Saturday. "Everybody says the emergency must be lifted, so earlier the better."
"Maybe it's because December 16 is a Sunday."
A spokesman of Pervez Musharraf, the Pakistani president, said he did not know if the date had been brought forward.

Musharraf imposed emergency rule on November 3, suspended the constitution and purged the supreme court to fend off challenges to his re-election, which new handpicked judges have since rubber-stamped.


Reason unclear


It was not immediately clear why Musharraf had decided to end the emergency a day early.


Some opponents had been toying with the idea of demanding that he bring forward the date to avoid a boycott of general elections scheduled for January 8.   


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Meanwhile, three supporters of Benazir Bhutto, the leader of the opposition Pakistan People's Party, have been killed after armed men attacked the party's office in a town in southwestern Pakistan, police said.


These were the first reported deaths in the ongoing election campaign.


Officers were investigating the incident, which occurred on Saturday in Naseerabad, about 250km east of Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province, Wajid Akbar, the district police chief, said.


Police had no immediate information about the motive for the attack or who was behind it, he said.


Police said it could be linked to old rivalry between two groups locked in a land dispute, one supporting the PPP and the other backing a rival faction.

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