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Sunday, 25 March, 2001, 18:17 GMT 19:17 UK
Musharraf firm on election timetable
Gen Musharraf
Musharraf refused to comment on the president's job
Pakistan's military leader General Pervez Musharraf insists there is no possibility of holding general elections before they are scheduled in October 2002.

This will be three years after the military coup in which General Musharraf took power, and was laid down by the Supreme Court and accepted by the government.

Political parties and human rights groups have called for elections to be held earlier, but the government is sticking to its plan to hold local and provincial polls first.

General Musharraf, who held a lengthy press conference at the governor's house in the largest city, Karachi, also said he had no plans to retire as the chief of army staff when his term expires.

President?

He also refused to answer a question on whether he would make himself president when current President Rafiq Tarar steps down at the end of the year.

Our correspondent in Islamabad, Susannah Price, says that this suggests he may not be so willing to bow out of politics once democracy is restored as he previously stated.

The president, who is usually chosen by parliament, is a figurehead and the post was stripped of many of its powers under former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

At present, the national assembly along with the provincial assemblies have all been suspended, and there has been no suggestion of when they would be restored.

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See also:

12 Oct 00 | South Asia
Detentions mark coup anniversary
12 Oct 00 | South Asia
Pakistan: Still out in the cold?
10 Oct 00 | South Asia
Pakistani leader defends record
14 Aug 00 | South Asia
Musharraf unveils local election plan
25 May 00 | South Asia
Musharraf pledges return to democracy
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