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Pakistan to Hold National Elections Next Year - 2001-08-14

Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf says he will hold national elections from October 1-11, 2002, to return the country to democratic rule.

Pakistan's military leader used an Independence Day speech to heads of newly elected local councils to outline what he called his road map to democracy. He says preparations for elections to the provincial assemblies and two houses of the parliament will begin next month. General Musharraf says "the elections will be held from October 1-11, and a transfer of power to the elected government will then take place."

He promises to reform the election commission and make constitutional changes that he says will introduce checks and balances into Pakistan's political system.

General Musharraf seized power in a military coup in October, 1999. Last year, Pakistan's supreme court ordered him to hold general elections by October of 2002. The court ruling also gave the general the authority to change the constitution.