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Musharraf ends emergency rule
President Pervez Musharraf

President Pervez Musharraf lifted a six-week-old state of emergency on Dec. 15,2007, amid fears that it could undermine the integrity of next year's elections.

Information Minister Nisar Memon said Musharraf had signed the order lifting the emergency. He called it a "historic day."

"The caretaker government is under oath to hold free, fair, transparent and impartial elections to put the country back on track," Memon said.

But on Dec.15, Musharraf also issued a decree protecting him from legal challenges over his actions during the emergency.

On Dec.14, Musharraf tweaked the constitution to shore up his legal defenses, scrapping a two-year wait after retirement for civil servants to run for office.

Musharraf stepped down as army chief only last month.

Musharraf may also suspend local mayors to prevent them from influencing the polls and lift a ban on anyone serving more than twice as prime minister, Attorney General Malik Mohammed Qayyum said.

Musharraf imposed a state of emergency on November 3, citing a "conspiracy" by top judges to end his rule. He faces criticism that the January 8 elections will be flawed.(Agencies)






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