Musharraf set to win vote, victory hangs on court

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ISLAMABAD, Oct 6 (Reuters) Pakistani legislators voted today in a presidential election military ruler Pervez Musharraf is sure to win even though he's uncertain if the Supreme Court will let him claim victory.

Doubts over whether the election result will stand have fuelled uncertainty in nuclear-armed Pakistan, as the 160-million strong Muslim country enters a transition from military to civilian rule that will culminate in national polls due by mid-January.

Coinciding with the vote, lawyers behind a campaign against Musharraf in recent months led anti-government protests in the four provincial capitals -- Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and Quetta.

Police fired tear gas to disperse lawyers pelting rocks at the North West Frontier Province assembly. Protesters also threw a burning effigy of the president on top of an armoured police vehicle.

If re-elected, U.S. ally Musharraf has promised to quit the army and be sworn in as a civilian leader just over eight years after coming to power in a coup.

The secret ballot began shortly after 10 a m (1030 IST) and ended at 3 p m (1530 IST). Unofficial results of the tally from the 702-vote electoral college are due later in the day.

The Supreme Court ruled yesterday the vote in the two-chamber parliament and four provincial assemblies could go ahead, but no winner would be declared until it had decided whether Musharraf was eligible to run for office while still army chief.

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