Sunday, October 17, 1999 Published at 16:23 GMT 17:23 UK
World: South Asia
Musharraf promises 'true democracy'
General Musharraf addressed the nation on television
Pakistan's new military ruler, General Pervez Musharraf, has said he has no intention of remaining in power for longer than it takes to establish what he called 'true democracy' in the country.
However, he gave no specific date for elections.
"I shall not allow the people to be taken back to the evil of sham democracy," he said.
He said that Pakistan would exercise nuclear restraint and went on to announce a unilateral military de-escalation in the border dispute with India over Kashmir.
He pledged "to withdraw all troops sent to the area in the recent past".
Gen Musharraf called on India "to end repression of Kashmiris".
Gen Musharraf set out seven key points to be tackled by his military administration:
But the EU summit in Finland did not call for the restoration of the ousted Sharif government.
Mr Sharif remains in "protective custody" at an undisclosed location.
But several cabinet ministers who were detained earlier are no longer under house arrest.
Several ministers, including Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz and Interior Minister Shujaat Hussain, answered their phones for the first time since the army takeover, but declined to comment, Reuters news agency reported.
Contrary to the broad international condemnation of the military's takeover, Saudi Arabia has voiced its support for the coup.
He said Saudi Arabia - which provides hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Pakistan - hoped for calm and stability there.
Commonwealth foreign ministers will debate the issue at a special meeting in London on Monday.
In Pakistan, the military has been tightening its grip on power. Eighteen diplomats appointed by Mr Sharif have been asked to resign, and a number of senior bureaucrats and officials have been detained.
In many cases, their offices have been sealed so that the army can investigate their dealings at a later stage, correspondents say.
Gen Musharraf assumed the position of chief executive after the declaration of a state of emergency.
He has also suspended the constitution and dissolved parliament.
The emergency declaration, or Provisional Constitution Order No 1, makes it clear that President Rafiq Tarar is now subordinate to the general.
The military has frozen the bank accounts of Mr Sharif, other senior politicians, parliamentarians, political advisers and their spouses.
In another development, the central State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has begun consultations with revenue officials and federal investigators to draw up a target list of prominent loan and tax defaulters.
Moves to expose corrupt financial dealings are likely to attact public support.
One state-run bank, United Bank Ltd, placed a large announcement in the country's press on Saturday headlined: "Calling Loan Defaulters! Adjust Your Loans Honourably".
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