Islamabad, July 11: Politicians in Pakistan have reacted cautiously to President Pervez Musharraf's decision to hold the national vote in October, with many saying the elections were meaningless and may not necessarily help restore democracy in the country.
The Pakistan Muslim League led by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said the elections would be "meaningless" unless the ban on political parties is lifted immediately.
"What is the point in calling elections if people are not able to conduct political activities? If political parties are not free to carry their message... This is a mockery of elections," a PML spokesman said yesterday.
Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) today said the date was not important but the manner of elections was.
"We will see if they are free fair and transparent," PPP's spokesman Farhatullah Babar said.
He said his party will defy the ban on political parties imposed by Musharraf after he seized power three years ago in a coup.
He also said that the PPP had reservations over the scheduling of elections for the senate on the same day as elections for the assemblies.
The announcement of general elections follows the unveiling of a series of radical constitutional amendments.
Several leaders are of the view that changes will undermine the parliamentary system the Muthida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), a united umbrella union of Pakistan's six mainstream religious political parties demanded the reconstitution of the election commission to ensure transparent elections.