Musharraf names ruling National Security Council

Date for elections not yet set
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The Independent Online

Nearly two weeks after throwing out Pakistan's elected government, the army on Monday named the National Security Council - six people who will run the country until the military chief decides to hold elections.

Nearly two weeks after throwing out Pakistan's elected government, the army on Monday named the National Security Council - six people who will run the country until the military chief decides to hold elections.

But so far army chief Gen. Pervaiz Musharraf has refused to say when elections would be held and few Pakistanis seem anxious for polls anytime soon, preferring instead to see endemic corruption tackled first.

Musharraf, who led the Oct. 12 bloodless coup that ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's government, will head the council of military officers and civilians.

The military officers on the council are Air Chief Marshal Pervaiz Mehdi Qureshi and Naval Chief Admiral Abdul Aziz Mirza.

The civilians members of the team are: Sahabzada Yaqoob Ali Khan, a former foreign minister, Mohammed Yaqub, governor of the State Bank of Pakistan and Attiya Inayatullah, a social worker and former adviser on family planning.

Both Khan and Ms. Inayatullah served under the previous military regime led by Gen. Zia-ul-Haq, who died in a mysterious plane crash in 1988 paving the way for Pakistan's first free and fair elections in 11 years.

Yaqub worked for the International Monetary Fund for 20 years before joining Pakistan's finance ministry in 1992. He was governor of the State Bank of Pakistan.

Musharraf appointed governors of the four provinces on Thursday. Three of the four were retired army officers and the fourth a retired justice.

Musharraf, who has a reputation as a brilliant field tactician and modern Muslim, has accused Sharif of driving the country toward ruin, destroying state institutions in a bid to consolidate his powers and undermining the constitution.

Musharraf, however, has suspended the constitution and has so far refused to set a date for general elections and a return to democracy in Pakistan, a demand of most western governments.

Musharraf has promised to root out corruption, recover ill-gotten wealth and restore confidence in an economy that some observers say is verging on collapse.

Sharif and several of his ex-Cabinet ministers have been in army custody since his ouster, although the army is not saying where he is being held.

The military takeover is the fourth in Pakistan's history. Pakistanis have been ruled by army generals for 25 of their 52-year history.

Some observers say Musharraf's rule thus far is relatively lenient because he has not suspended fundamental rights or imposed curbs on the press or judiciary.

The military takeover has been widely accepted by Pakistanis, who are frustrated by years of political instability, corruption and religious and political violence.

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