Musharraf pledges civilian rule

Pakistan's president promises to step down as army chief, while setting election deadline.

    Lawyers are among those who have protested against Musharraf's crackdown on the opposition [AFP]

    Musharraf has sacked judges, jailed lawyers and detained political opponents and rights activists during the emergency rule period.

    He has said that the judiciary was hindering action against al-Qaeda and Taliban-inspired leaders and their followers.

    Before Musharraf declared emergency rule elections had been expected by mid-January, two months after the expected dissolution of the national and provincial assemblies.

    Last week, Musharraf said elections would be held by February 15.

    He maintains that he will be sworn in as a civilian president once new judges appointed to the Supreme Court end challenges against his October re-election.

    Benazir Bhutto, leader of the opposition Pakistan's People Party (PPP) headed for the eastern city of Lahore from lslambad on Sunday.

    Bhutto plans to begin a mass protest on Tuesday unless General Musharraf rolls back emergency rule and restores the constitution.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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