Elections to be held by February 15: President Musharraf

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Islamabad, Nov 8 (UNI) Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf today announced that general elections in the country would be held by February 15 but refused to put an end to speculation over whether he would doff his uniform.

Talking to reporters after chairing the National Security Council meeting held here at Aiwan-e-Sadr, Gen Musharraf said he was committed towards the transition to democratic civilian rule in the country.

''It was my commitment and I am fulfilling it,'' the Pakistani leader said.

He said the decision to go for elections on or before February 15 was decided keeping in mind the tenure of the National Assembly and provincial assemblies which were ending on different dates.

When asked about his uniform, Gen Musharraf said whenever the Supreme Court would allow for the notification of results of the presidential election, that would be the time when he could take oath as president and remove the uniform.

His announcement came hours after US President George W Bush called him personally, urging him to hold elections and quit as army chief.

Pakistan had orginally been scheduled to hold elections by mid-January until the military ruler declared emergency rule and suspended the constitution.

His move has ruffled the feathers of prominent Pakistani leaders, including former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who has threatened a mass motorcade from Lahore to the capital on November 13 unless Gen Musharraf quits as army chief.

UNI

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