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Pakistan to form interim Government

Pakistan will install a caretaker government next month in a major commitment to holding general elections in early 2008, the information minister announced Tuesday.

The national parliament will be dissolved on November 15 and an interim government formed by President Pervez Musharraf in the run-up to the polls, scheduled for early January, Mohammad Ali Durrani said.

“The interim government will be formed by President General Pervez Musharraf,” Durrani told a press conference.

“But it will be formed after consultation with opposition parties.”

He said “undisputed persons” would be chosen to form the caretaker government in the next step to holding free and fair elections.

The provincial assemblies would also be dissolved and caretaker chief ministers appointed in each of the nation’s four provinces, Durrani said.

Musharraf, a key US ally, has been embroiled in months of political crisis and faces growing international pressure for a return to democracy.

Musharraf, who seized power in a coup eight years ago, has vowed to step down as army chief and become a civilian leader once his victory in presidential polls held on October 6 is declared valid by the Supreme Court.

Those polls, boycotted by most of the opposition, were conducted by the outgoing parliament and provincial assemblies.

Former premier Benazir Bhutto is expected to return on Thursday after eight years in self-imposed exile to lead her party in the elections.

Bhutto has been given an amnesty by Musharraf on corruption charges that forced her to flee the country in 1999. The accord is seen as a step towards a possible power-sharing pact with Musharraf ahead of the elections.

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