Pakistan president announces December 16 date but ex-PM Sharif calls for polls boycott.
Musharraf said the emergency ordinance was only imposed to secure national stability amid increasing attacks by Islamic fighters.
There has been recent conflict in Pakistan, mostly targeting the military, since an army raid in July on a mosque led by an imam who is supportive of the Taliban.
“I am not a fan of Musharraf, but I can see that he has Pakistan’s interest at heart when he says he wants to bring real democracy to the country.”
Jinah, Tamil Nadu, India
About 450 people have died in attacks since the raid on the Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) in Islamabad.
Musharraf insisted that emergency rule, imposed on November 3, was needed to restore order.
On Friday, he made changes to the constitution to boost his legal power, hours before the emergency ordinance ended.
Musharraf removed a condition from the charter stating that civil servants had to wait two years after their retirement before running for elected office, Malik Qayyum, Pakistan’s attorney-general, said.
He said other changes sealed the forced retirement of purged supreme court judges, including Iftikhar Chaudhry, the former chief justice.
Musharraf imposed emergency law a month after he was re-elected as president.
When imposing the law, Musharraf said the courts were not being supportive in moves to crack down on opposition fighters.
Musharraf’s opponents have said that he wanted to remove judges who could have permitted legal challenges to his election as president while he was still head of the nation’s military.
“Even though Musharraf’s emergency law may have controlled or tamed some dissidents and members of the opposition, it has not controlled those who are striking the military,” Kamal Hyder, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Pakistan, said.
Musharraf’s election as president was validated by the supreme court after key opposition judges were arrested.
|Political opponents are concerned Musharraf is
seeking to limit participation in elections [AFP]
He then stood down as army chief, bowing to international pressure to become a civilian leader.
The government said on Friday that basic rights would be restored at the end of emergency law, but that no retroactive challenges to the emergency rule’s legality would be permitted.
“All fundamental rights of the citizens will stand restored with the lifting of emergency,” Qayyum said.
On Saturday, at least five people were killed in a suicide bomb attack at an army camp in northwest Pakistan, an army spokesman said.
Major-General Waheed Arshad said the attack was at a checkpoint in Nowshehra, about 120km northwest of Islamabad.
Two soldiers and three civilians died, as well as the attacker, while six people were wounded, he said.