2007.11.22: November 22, 2007: Headlines: COS - Pakistan: Figures: COS - Morocco: Journalism: Newsday: James Rupert writes: Musharraf said to be quitting general post

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Pakistan: Peace Corps Pakistan : Peace Corps Pakistan: Newest Stories: 2007.11.22: November 22, 2007: Headlines: COS - Pakistan: Figures: COS - Morocco: Journalism: Newsday: James Rupert writes: Musharraf said to be quitting general post

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James Rupert writes: Musharraf said to be quitting general post

James Rupert writes: Musharraf said to be quitting general post

The Supreme Court's approval of Musharraf's election as civilian president came as no surprise. Musharraf seized total government power Nov. 3 to prevent the existing Supreme Court from ruling that his army job disqualified him from being a presidential candidate. Judges in the replacement court have been forced to swear an oath to accept Musharraf's emergency rule. "He might as well declare himself king," opposition politician Imran Khan said. "He's done everything else to secure all power, especially by destroying the Supreme Court and its traditions." Journalist James Rupert, head of Newsday's international bureau in Islamabad, Pakistan began his career abroad as a Peace Corps volunteer, teaching mechanics and welding in Morocco.

James Rupert writes: Musharraf said to be quitting general post

Musharraf said to be quitting general post

BY JAMES RUPERT | james.rupert@newsday.com
9:33 PM EST, November 22, 2007

SLAMABAD, Pakistan - President Pervez Musharraf is prepared to quit his uniformed role as army commander this weekend, his aides said, after his hand-picked Supreme Court Thursday declared him eligible to rule as civilian president.

Gen. Musharraf could hand direct control of the army to his deputy, Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, and take the oath of office as civilian president as early as Saturday, Pakistan's attorney general told reporters. Musharraf is hoping that the job switch will encourage his critics at home and abroad to see him as a committed democratizer, despite his imposition this month of a repressive state of emergency.

Musharraf is hoping to convince Pakistanis and foreign governments that elections scheduled for Jan. 8 can serve as the basis for a more legitimate democratic government. But many opposition parties say they will boycott the election.

With unknown numbers of political activists and lawyers jailed for protesting the emergency, and with private TV news shut down or restricted, opposition leaders and many Pakistanis say no fair vote can be held. An alliance of opposition parties called for nationwide protest Friday against Musharraf and his emergency rule.

Musharraf's hopes for a manageable election are clouded not only by the prospect of a boycott, but also by growing signs that his bitterest rival, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, may try again to return from exile to join the political struggle. Sharif, whom Musharraf ousted from power in a 1999 coup, has been in exile in Saudi Arabia.

Pakistani authorities unceremoniously deported Sharif in September when he came here in a bid to return. But Saudi officials have signaled their support for Sharif to return, and officials of his party told The News, a Pakistani daily, that he plans to re-enter Pakistan by Monday.

Musharraf continues to adjust his grip on power. On one hand, large numbers of political activists detained under the emergency decree have been released in the last few days. The government says more than 5,000 have been freed, leaving several hundred in jail, but no independent count of those arrested or released has been possible, opposition parties say.

Amid the releases, Musharraf on Wednesday decreed amendments to the constitution (which he has suspended) that declare it illegal for anyone to raise a court challenge to his emergency rule. Pakistan's constitution normally can be amended only by a two-thirds majority of parliament.

The Supreme Court's approval of Musharraf's election as civilian president came as no surprise. Musharraf seized total government power Nov. 3 to prevent the existing Supreme Court from ruling that his army job disqualified him from being a presidential candidate. Judges in the replacement court have been forced to swear an oath to accept Musharraf's emergency rule.

"He might as well declare himself king," opposition politician Imran Khan said. "He's done everything else to secure all power, especially by destroying the Supreme Court and its traditions."




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Headlines: November, 2007; RPCV James Rupert (Morocco); Peace Corps Pakistan; Directory of Pakistan RPCVs; Messages and Announcements for Pakistan RPCVs; Figures; Peace Corps Morocco; Directory of Morocco RPCVs; Messages and Announcements for Morocco RPCVs; Journalism





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Story Source: Newsday

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Pakistan; Figures; COS - Morocco; Journalism

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