Musharraf says emergency rule to end on December 16

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Islamabad, Nov 29 (UNI) Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf today announced that emergency imposed in the country on November 3 would be lifted on December 16.

''I intend to lift emergency on December 16 because there has been an improvement in the overall situation and increased check on terrorism,'' he said in his first address to the nation as the civilian president.

Earlier in the day, President Musharraf took oath as the civilian President of Pakistan for a five-year term and declared that election would be held as scheduled on January 8.

Dressed in a dark traditional tunic, President Musharraf was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Chief Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar at the Aiwan-e-Sadr (presidential palace) for a fresh five-year term.

''I would like to announce that January 8 election will be held come hell or high water,'' the 64-year-old President said after the swearing-in ceremony, attended by several politicians, bureaucrats, Military officials and diplomats.

The government would not allow anyone to destabalise the democratic process of the country, he asserted, adding that all those who were calling for boycott of election should take part in the exercise.

President Musharraf said both former Prime Ministers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif had returned to Pakistan and the parties had been provided with a level playing field.

It was the responsibility of the parties as well as other political forces to prepare for January 8 elections take part in it.

He said national concensus, politicalo reconciliation and good governance were the need of the hour to meet the challenges facing the country.

'' We have been able to check terrorism effectively after the imposition of emergency,'' President Musharraf said, adding that the military operation against the terrorists in Swat Valley were continuing.

UNI

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