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Musharraf Sets Parliamentary Elections for October 10 - 2002-07-10


Pakistan's military President Pervez Musharraf has set parliamentary elections for October 10.

An official statement said the elections for the national Assembly, the Senate and the four provincial assemblies will be held on the same day. The announcement comes after President Musharraf chaired a meeting of his cabinet on Wednesday.

The Pakistani military leader seized power in a bloodless coup in October 1999. The country's Supreme Court has validated his action but ordered him to hold national elections within three years. Musharraf has repeatedly promised to restore civilian rule after taking power.

But a controversial referendum earlier this year has already extended his term as President for at least another five years. Last month he unveiled a package of proposed constitutional amendments that he plans to finalize before the parliamentary elections in October.

Political parties and other groups have rejected the proposals, saying they will give President Musharraf sweeping powers to dictate the country's affairs.

Under the proposed amendments, the president will have powers to dismiss an elected prime minister and his government and dissolve the parliament.

President Musharraf is due to address the nation on Friday when he is expected to unveil further changes in the constitution. Last week, the military leader issued another order that has effectively barred former Prime Ministers, Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif from regaining power.

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