LIANE HANSEN, Host:
NPR's Philip Reeves reports from Islamabad.
PHILIP REEVES: Today, Musharraf struck one item off that list.
PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: So any day toward the end of the first week of January, we will hold the general elections in all the provinces of Pakistan simultaneously to the national assembly and the provincial assembly.
REEVES: Musharraf said elections should be held by January 9th, that's before the deadline set down in the now suspended constitution. The U.S. and Musharraf's opponents will welcome this. They'll be less happy about his position on emergency rule.
MUSHARRAF: I do understand that emergency has to be lifted, but I cannot give a date for it. We are in a difficult situation and, therefore, I cannot give a date.
REEVES: He said imposing emergency rule wasn't easy.
MUSHARRAF: There is no doubt that this was the most difficult decision I have ever taken in my life. Why did I take this decision? I could have preserved myself, but then it would have damaged the nation. I found myself between a rock and a hard surface.
REEVES: Pakistan's legal community and opposition parties are calling for Musharraf to restore the judiciary. The general made it clear that's a red line he won't cross.
MUSHARRAF: There is no question. Those who have not taken oath are gone. They are no more judges.
REEVES: Philip Reeves, NPR News, Islamabad.
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