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Thursday, 23 March, 2000, 00:20 GMT
Musharraf to 'announce elections'
General Musharraf
General Musharraf: Road map for return to democracy
Owen Bennett-Jones reports from Islamabad

Pakistan's military ruler, General Pervez Musharraf, is expected shortly to give details of plans to hold local elections.

The military has been saying for many months now that it plans to reform Pakistan's electoral lists and to hold local elections by the end of this year.

Timing

It could well be that General Musharraf will give a specific date for those polls in a press conference called for 1300 local time (0800 GMT).


The Ghauri I missile will be on display
The Ghauri I missile will be on display
Pakistani military officials say that even if they are not prepared to give a timetable for national elections, they are willing to discuss a road map for the return of democracy.

They are likely to argue that a firm date for local elections should be seen in that context.

On Saturday, President Clinton will spend a few hours in Islamabad.

General Musharraf's announcement is doubtless timed with that visit in mind.

Military parade

Pakistan in crisis
As well as pressing for a time table for the restoration of democracy, President Clinton is expected to raise other issues such as whether Pakistan is a source of international terrorism and whether it will sign the nuclear test ban treaty.

General Musharraf's announcement also coincides with Pakistan Day when the military hold a parade in the centre of Islamabad.

Like last year, the country's two missiles systems the Ghauri and the Shaheen will be on display.

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See also:

04 Dec 99 | South Asia
Musharraf promises local democracy
13 Oct 99 | South Asia
US calls for democracy in Pakistan
14 Jan 00 | South Asia
Pakistan urges US role in Kashmir
15 Mar 00 | South Asia
Pakistan ban on political rallies
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