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Sunday, 28 April, 2002, 13:58 GMT 14:58 UK
Musharraf 'ready' for another term
A man pedals past a poster of General Musharraf in Islamabad
General Musharraf is relieved after the court ruling
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By Susannah Price
BBC correspondent in Karachi
line

Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf has praised the Supreme Court which ruled that Tuesday's referendum on whether he should stay in power is legal.

General Musharraf said if he won the referendum and stayed in the post for another five years, he would consider a further term after that.

He was speaking in Karachi shortly before his last public rally to garner support for the 30 April referendum.

General Musharraf was clearly relieved that the Supreme Court had ruled his controversial referendum was legal.

The court rejected several petitions opposing it.

Confident

The president sounded confident of success in the referendum and began outlining his future plans.

Opposition supporters in Lahore
Opposition has termed the poll unconstitutional

He said he was looking at ways to ensure his reforms would continue and would not be reversed after October's elections.

He confirmed he would introduce a national security council which is expected to include the heads of the armed services, the president and prime minister.

Critics say this would ensure the military continues to have an important say in the running of the country.

But General Musharraf said the only way to keep the government working in the nation's interest was to have checks and balances.

New powers

He said the president would also have the power to dismiss the national assembly.

General Musharraf acknowledges crowd at a rally
Musharraf: Outlining future plans

This controversial measure was first introduced by a previous military leader, General Zia, and was used to dismiss four governments before it was abolished.

General Musharraf also said he would consider reducing the five-year term of the parliament, a measure observers say would erode their power.

The president said once his five years in office were completed, he might try for another term if the people felt he was needed.

See also:

22 Apr 02 | South Asia
Court examines Musharraf poll
03 Apr 02 | South Asia
Musharraf goes for 'Zia option'
03 Apr 02 | South Asia
Musharraf poll approved
13 Mar 02 | South Asia
Musharraf warns opposition leaders
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