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Musharraf Gives Pakistani Military Courts Power to Try Civilians


Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has given army courts the power to try civilians on a wide range of charges.

The move comes one week after General Musharraf imposed emergency rule across Pakistan.

Meanwhile, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto is expected in Lahore Sunday ahead of Tuesday's planned protest march from the city to Islamabad. The demonstration is aimed at increasing pressure on General Musharraf to give up his army chief post, hold elections as scheduled in January, and lift the emergency rule.

On Saturday, Ms. Bhutto met with senior members of Pakistan People's Party and addressed a protest by hundreds of journalists in Islamabad.

Most independent broadcasters remain off the air in Pakistan and some newspapers have been censored. Pakistani authorities also ordered three British journalists to leave the country after their newspaper, "The Daily Telegraph," used strong language in referring to General Musharraf.

On Friday, police prevented Ms. Bhutto from leaving her home in Islamabad.

In other developments, Pakistan attorney general Malik Mohammad Qayyum says emergency rule is likely to be lifted in one month.

Separately, U.S. President George Bush said Saturday during a news conference in Texas that promises by Mr. Musharraf to lift the state of emergency are "positive steps." He added that the United States needs the cooperation of Pakistan to combat the militant group al-Qaida.

President Musharraf has said parliamentary elections will be held before February 15th -- a month later than originally scheduled.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP .
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