Cabinet to approve referendum plan

Published April 2, 2002

ISLAMABAD, April 1: The Federal Cabinet is meeting here on Wednesday, to formally approve the holding of referendum for President Musharraf to stay in power for another five-year term.

The meeting, presided over by the President, will discuss all pros and cons to hold referendum, possibly within this month. But the date may be announced by May 7.

Official source said military-high authorities had approved idea of the referendum in a corps commanders conference held few days ago in the General Headquarters (GHQ), Rawalpindi, followed by informal discussion by the federal cabinet over the issue.

The government has got a study conducted through private experts who concluded that majority of the Pakistanis, including those of 18-year old, would vote for the President to stay in power, and that he should use this “constitutional option available”.

Intelligence agencies also assessed that there was no need to rig the referendum or follow the “infamous and embarrassing methods” adopted by former presidents Ayub Khan and Ziaul Haq to get themselves elected for five-year term in their respective referendums.

The sources said the President was confident to win the controversial referendum, as he believed that over 200,000 local government representatives would be behind him.

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