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Pakistan's Musharraf Sworn In As Civilian Presiden


Pakistan's Musharraf Sworn in as Civilian President

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has been sworn in as a civilian president for a new five-year term, calling it "a milestone" in Pakistan's transition to democracy.

The Pakistani leader took the oath of office Thursday, a day after he stepped down as the country's army chief, ending a 46-year military career.

The oath was administered in the presidential palace in Islamabad by Abdul Hameed Dogar, the chief justice appointed by Mr. Musharraf when he disbanded the Supreme Court after imposing emergency rule on November third.

Mr. Musharraf is scheduled to make a television address in which senior officials say he may set a date for ending emergency rule

On Wednesday, President Musharraf ceremonially handed over command of the country's armed forces to his designated successor, General Ashfaq Kayani.

Opposition leaders and former prime ministers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif welcomed President Musharraf's retirement from the army.

Opposition parties led by Ms. Bhutto and Mr. Sharif are considering boycotting parliamentary elections scheduled for January eighth, saying they cannot be fair or free under emergency rule.

However, both former prime ministers as well as several other candidates from nearly all political parties have registered as candidates for the polls.

ENDS

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