Caretaker PM appointed in Pakistan

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Islamabad, Nov 15: Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf appointed the chairman of the Senate (upper house) Mohammad Mian Soomro as the caretaker Prime Minister of the country.

Mr Soomro will take the oath of his office today to be administered by Gen Musharraf.

''Mohammad Mian Soomro will be the caretaker Prime Minister,'' state-run Pakistan television quoted Gen Musharraf as saying here.

Official sources said a small federal cabinet mostly comprising of technocrats will also be sworn in tomorrow. The cabinet will consist of not more than a dozen ministers.

The national assembly will also stand dissolved at midnight tonight on completion of its five-year tenure. This is for the first time in 22 years that a national assembly would complete its full term. All the previous assemblies since 1985 were dissolved by then presidents with an exception of the Nawaz Sharif-led national assembly of 1999 which fell victim to the military coup by Gen Musharraf.

Gen Musharraf has already said that parliamentary elections will be held before January 9, 2008 under the emergency rule he proclaimed on November 3.

He told newsmen early this week that imposition of emergency would make the atmosphere conducive for parliamentary elections.

Former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, who returned to the country last month after 8 years of self-imposed exile and is currently under house arrest in Lahore, has already rejected any elections under emergency rule and called for a neutral caretaker government of national consensus to hold free and fair elections.


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