Musharraf to Relinquish Military Role
Pakistan’s military dictator will resign his position as army commander, thus becoming a civilian dictator.
President Gen. Pervez Musharraf will finally step down as the head of Pakistan’s military and be sworn in as a civilian president on Thursday, an army spokesman said.
“He is going to take oath as has been announced by government on the 29th, most probably, so he is going to take off his uniform a day before that,” spokesman Maj. Gen. Waheed Arshad said.
Civilian officials have repeatedly said Musharraf would step down imminently as army chief, a key demand of domestic opponents threatening to boycott January parliamentary elections. But Arshad’s statement was the first from the military naming a date for him to restore direct civilian rule.
In the short term, this will merely require Musharraf to have to pick out a suit of clothes each morning rather than reach for the uniform. The longer term question is whether he’ll continue to have the support of the generals or whether a successor will emerge as a rival for power.
Theoretically, of course, this paves the way for free and fair elections and legitimate democratic governance. Pakistan has experienced that from time to time. So long as the generals feel they have the inherent right to step in if they disapprove of the direction the country is headed — and especially so long as the people see this as normal — Pakistan will not become a Republic.
Photo source: Eugene Plawiuk