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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Musharraf Sets Date For Presidential Vote

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- Pakistani national elections will take place before Feb. 15, President Pervez Musharraf said Thursday, after Western allies and opponents had demanded that polls be held on time and emergency rule scrapped.

"There is no doubt in my mind that elections should be held on time, as soon as possible," Musharraf told official media after chairing a meeting of the National Security Council.

"It was my commitment and I am fulfilling it."

Musharraf added that he would quit the military and be sworn in as a civilian president once the Supreme Court rules whether he was eligible to stand for re-election last month while still army chief.

The announcement went some way toward assuaging criticism from Musharraf's main overseas backer, the United States.

"We think it is a good thing that President Musharraf has clarified the election date for the Pakistani people," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said.

Many Pakistanis remained more skeptical, however. "I don't trust him. Military rulers in Pakistan never fulfilled their promise," said Nighat Anis, a retired teacher in Islamabad. "It's our history. We have always been cheated."

It remains to be seen whether Musharraf can control events set in motion by his shock decision Saturday to declare emergency rule, suspend the constitution, sack most of the country's judges and round up the majority of the opposition leadership and anyone else deemed troublesome.