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Pakistan to hold parliamentary elections as scheduled: PM

[JURIST] Parliamentary elections in Pakistan will be held in mid-January as scheduled, despite Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf's weekend proclamation of emergency rule [JURIST report], Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said Monday. Aziz's comments came amid fears that the elections would be postponed because of the imposition of emergency rule and ensuing demonstrations [JURIST report] by Pakistani lawyers throughout the country, several of which turned violent as police made hundreds of arrests.

Musharraf made the emergency declaration Saturday as the country anticipated a Supreme Court ruling [JURIST reports] on whether he had been eligible to run for re-election [JURIST report] as Pakistan's president while still army chief. Media reports suggested that the court had already prepared a ruling against Musharraf but had not yet released it. A Provisional Constitution Order [text] issued by Musharraf barred the high court or any court from making "any order against the President or the Prime Minister or any person exercising powers or jurisdiction under this authority."

The crisis in Pakistan has spurred several Western countries to reconsider their aid to Pakistan and to press for a return of constitutional process in the country. On Saturday, the US State Department called the crisis a "setback for democracy" [press statement; JURIST report] and the US later suspended cooperation talks with Pakistan for the upcoming week. BBC News has more.

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