11/28/2007, 00.00
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Musharraf cedes command of armed forces

This morning a ceremony was held in Rawalpindi living over military power to his successor, Ashfaq Kiyani. Musharraf’s installation as “civilian” president set for tomorrow.

Islamabad (AsiaNews/Agencies) – After nine years of absolute power over the Pakistani army, General Pervez Musharraf this morning ceded control of the armed forces. His successor Ashfaq Kiyani, has formally taken up the post during a ceremony held in a stadium on the of Rawalpindi, the showcase city on the outskirts of Islamabad.

Kiyani’s appointment was made public on October 8th last, two days after the presidential vote confirmed Musharraf as president. For some analysts, the effective passage only took place in the aftermath of International pressure, led by the United States, which called on Musharraf to take on the presidential post as a civilian.

The presidential cabinet has announced that the official instalment of Musharraf as head of state will take place tomorrow.

Musharraf was military commander from October 7th 1998, a year later he took charge of the country through a peaceful coup in October 1999.  He had been promising to give his uniform since 2004, a promise he frequently broke.

Immediately after his appointment, contested by the Supreme Court, the President proclaimed a state of emergency, November 3rd last, and removed the political opposition and judges opposed to the regime.

Parliamentary elections are due to be held January 8 next, but two ex premiers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif, recently returned after a long exile together with other oppositions, have declared their intention to boycott the vote.


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