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Wednesday, 1 August, 2001, 15:24 GMT 16:24 UK
Ex-general elected to Kashmir post
Market
It is the 12th election for the post of president
By Susannah Price in Islamabad

A candidate from the newly-elected ruling party in Pakistani-administered Kashmir has won elections for the post of president there.

Mohammad Anwar Khan, a former major-general, received the majority of the votes from the 55-member electoral college.

His rival, Choudhry Akbar, belongs to the ousted Pakistan People's Party (PPP).

The result of the presidential election had been seen as a foregone conclusion. The electoral college mainly consists of members of the legislative assembly.

The polls for the assembly, held last month, were won by the Muslim Conference, and it's their candidate, Mr Anwar Khan, who's been chosen as president.

He polled 36 votes, as opposed to 18 for his opponent from the PPP, led by Benazir Bhutto.

Controversy

There had been some controversy about the election of Mr Anwar, who retired prematurely from his post as major-general just a few days ago.

Pakistani soldiers
Mr Anwar says he has no military backing
This was the same time as the new ruling party in Pakistani-administered Kashmir amended the law to allow government servants to contest polls immediately after giving up their jobs.

Previously they had to wait for two years. Some members of the Muslim Conference were unhappy with the decision to nominate an army general who had no connection with politics.

However, the new president said he had not received any backing from the military-led government.

And the head of the Muslim Conference said they were looking for a non-political person.

The new president, who will fill a largely ceremonial role, will be sworn in at the end of the month.

This is the 12th election for the post of president.

Pakistani-administered Kashmir is an exception within Pakistan in that it still retains its assembly while the rest of the provincial and national assemblies were dissolved in June.

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The BBC's Susannah Price reports from Islamabad
"There had been some controversy about the election of Mr Anwar"
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