Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf today promised to hold elections by January 9—but said he must first dissolve the national and all four provincial assemblies this month. Musharraf made the announcement as former prime minister Benazir Bhutto met with hundreds of supporters organizing anti-government rallies as the nation continued to struggle within the grip of emergency rule imposed a week ago.
Musharraf said at a news conference that emergency rule would remain in place for the elections to counter a "disturbed environment, the terrorist environment." He said he intends to safeguard the route back to democracy, but insisted he was forced to take emergency action "to preserve this nation. I found myself between a rock and a hard surface."