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A Pakistani Supreme Court stacked with judges loyal to President Gen. Pervez Musharraf prepared for a final ruling Thursday on whether the general is eligible to be president.

A Pakistani Supreme Court stacked with judges loyal to President Gen. Pervez Musharraf prepared for a final ruling Thursday on whether the general is eligible to be president. 4

A Pakistani Supreme Court stacked with judges loyal to President Gen. Pervez Musharraf prepared for a final ruling Thursday on whether the general is eligible to be president.

The court, which Musharraf purged of independent-minded judges after he suspended the constitution Nov. 3, was widely expected to clear a last legal hurdle for Musharraf to embark on a new five-year term. The panel also was considering challenges to the state of emergency Musharraf declared more than two weeks ago.

The attorney general said Wednesday that Musharraf was expected to step down as army chief by the weekend if the Supreme Court validates his victory in a controversial Oct. 6 presidential vote.

But it is still not clear whether Musharraf will lift the state of emergency, despite international pressure, including from the United States, his key backer.

Late Wednesday, Musharraf decreed new amendments to the constitution using powers he said he has under the emergency. One of the amendments states that his decisions cannot be challenged by any court and will be considered “always to have been validly made.”

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