Musharraf may hold elections before February 15, says PTV

November 14th, 2007 - 10:18 am ICT by admin  
Musharraf has been under pressure to hold elections since imposing emergency rule on Saturday.

On Wednesday, U.S. President George W Bush telephoned Musharraf to urge him to hold elections soon.

Bush categorically told him that he must take steps to restore civilian rule in Pakistan as soon as possible.

American dailies and foreign news agency reports said that it was the first phone conversation between Bush and Musharraf since the latter announced a state of emergency across Pakistan on Saturday through a Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO).

According to the New York Times,Pakistani and American officials said that Musharraf sought to assure Bush that the emergency is temporary and that he still plans to call for elections.

“My message was that we believe strongly in elections, and that you ought to have elections soon, and you need to take off your uniform. You can’t be the president and the head of the military at the same time,” the paper quoted Bush as telling Musharraf.

“My message was very plain, very easy to understand, and that is, the United States wants you (Musharraf) to have the elections as scheduled and take your uniform off,” Bush later said during a news conference with French President Nicolas Sarkozy at George Washington’s home in Mount Vernon, Virginia.

Pakistan state TV also said that Musharraf had also renewed a pledge to quit as head of the army before taking the oath for his new term as president. However, no date was given for him to step down.

The election announcement came as the party of Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto said that over 700 members of her Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) had been arrested overnight.

The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) is planning a huge public rally in Rawalpindi on Friday.

Meanwhile, five more people in Karachi have been charged with sedition. If proved, those charged could get the death penalty. (ANI)

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