As Pakistan gears up to elect its first parliament since President General Pervez Musharraf took over in a coup in 1999, he is taking steps to ensure that the new National Assembly and government won't challenge his power. On Aug. 21, Musharraf announced he was amending Pakistan's constitution to give the President the right to dismiss the parliament and to create a National Security Council. The council, which will be headed by the President, will include chiefs of the armed forces, the Prime Minister, the opposition leader, and the National Assembly speaker. But critics fear the body will institutionalize the military's role in governing Pakistan. After last April's referendum on his presidency, Musharraf plans to stay in office for five more years.
Edited by Rose Brady