'No elections in Pak for at least one year'

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Islamabad, Nov 6: Top government lawyer and constitutional wizard of the Pervez Musharraf regime Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada has indicated that general elections would not be held in Pakistan for at least one year.

His statement contradicts the claim by Attorney General Justice Malik Qayyum that the present assemblies would be dissolved on November 15 and elections would be held accordingly.

The News quoted Mr Pirzada as saying categorically that the emergency imposed by President Pervez Musharraf would soon be revoked but the term of present government would be extended for a year.

His comment meant that there would be no general elections in January as being demanded by Pakistan People's Party Benazir Bhutto, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and all major Western powers.

''The Prime Minister and Parliament would get one-year extension in their terms,'' he added.

Asked if he did not feel bad about imposition of emergency that held the Constitution in abeyance, he visibly had no reply.

Mr Pirzada said he just gave his legal advice on what Gen Musharraf was planning to do but did not elaborate whether his advice was in favour of such an ''extra-constitutional'' step.

He said he was not aware of the timing as to when the emergency was going to be imposed. ''Such things continue to exist as options for them (the Army). They exercise the options when they deem it necessary,'' he said, denying the impression as he was in the knowledge about the timing in this regard.

Mr Pirzada had left the federal capital for Karachi on Friday afternoon, a day before the emergency was declared.

The top lawyer is representing President Musharraf in the case against the latter's candidacy to contest the October 6 presidential poll.

Mr Pirzada's statement about the one-year extension in the term of the present set-up matches the claim by Interior Minister Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao but in contravention of the claim by the Attorney General.


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