So finally, General Pervez Musharraf would become Mr. Pervez Musharraf on Thursday when he will be sworned in as a civilian president at the Aiwan-i-Sadr, Islamabad (13th president of Pakistan). Gen. Musharraf will retire after occupying Chief of the Army Staff post for more than nine years. Given a choice, I am sure he would have loved to continue for another 5-10 years and beat the record set by late Gen. Zia. But anyways, Musharraf paid farewell visits to Joint Staff, Air and Naval headquarters today where he met senior military officials one last time as COAS. Former DG ISI, Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kayani will take over as new Chief of the Army Staff from Thursday. ATP readers who wish to know more about Gen. Kayani may find this bbc article very interesting.
Musharraf is taking his uniform off at a time when he has become highly unpopular, country is under unnecessary Martial Law, judiciary has been completely destroyed, lawyers and civil society are on the streets protesting against him, media is under severe curbs and he hardly has any friends left anywhere. It would be interesting to see how Gen. Musharraf survives in future as a civilian president.
He would require endorsement of PCO and all his actions since November 3 from newly elected assembly, if elections are held, which will be an uphill task and I really don’t see HOW it will happen unless Q-League wins again.
But then again, anything is possible in Pakistan. Who knows, Q-League wins with a heavy mandate this time after brilliant performance of 5 years in power.
According to Daily Times:
President General Pervez Musharraf would take oath as civilian president at 11am on Thursday, but before this he would relinquish charge of chief of army staff (COAS) to start his second term as president of Pakistan.
â€œYes, he is going to take oath at 11am on Thursday,â€ Musharrafâ€™s spokesman Maj Gen (r) Rashid Qureshi told Daily Times on Monday. He also confirmed that the Ministry of Defence had issued a notification of his retirement as army chief after being in office for nine years.
Farewell: Defence Ministry sources said Musharraf would start holding farewell meetings today (Tuesday) â€“ a clear indication that he had decided to call it a day. â€œMusharraf will meet top military commanders, principal staff officers and senior colleagues,â€ defence sources said. The formal handing over of charge to his successor is also part of the farewell proceedings, they added. The sources said Musharraf was fulfilling the promise he made to the nation and the Supreme Court of vacating the army post before taking oath as president. Preparations for the ceremony to mark the change of army command are underway, and a formal ceremony will take place at General Headquarters in Rawalpindi, defence sources said.
After the completion of the ceremony, the Defence Ministry will announce the appointment of the new chief of army staff, sources said. A special meeting of corps commanders is expected before the handing over ceremony, they added.
Born in 1943 in New Delhi, Musharraf enrolled in the Kakul Military Academy in 1961. He was commissioned in the Artillery Regiment in 1964. Former premier Nawaz Sharif appointed him as the countryâ€™s 13th army chief on October 8, 1998. On October 12, 1999, he ousted Sharif in a bloodless coup and bundled him off to Saudi Arabia on December 10, 2000. On October 7, 2001, Musharraf extended his military term, which is supposed to be a three-year tenure post, for an unspecified period. After the late General Ziaul Haq, who was army chief for more than 12 years from April 1, 1976 to August 17, 1988, Musharrafâ€™s tenure as army chief has been the longest. Last week, the new SC judges validated Musharrafâ€™s victory in an October 6 presidential election, clearing the way for him to serve a further five years in office.
Army security, staff to stay: Sources said President Musharrafâ€™s security would remain entrusted to the army, even after taking oath as a civilian president. A special contingent of Pakistan Armyâ€™s Special Services Group, headed by a brigadier, has been tasked with ensuring Musharrafâ€™s security. General Musharraf has also decided to retain his current military staff after resigning as army chief, it was learnt. This includes a full time military secretary, deputy military secretary and deputy chief of staff.
It is too early and premature to say what legacy Gen. Musharraf is leaving as COAS and how he will be remembered. Only time will tell. After all, he is still going to rule us for another 5 years (atleast he thinks that way). So what if he is wearing a suit this time. But lets just hope that Gen. Kayani stays away from politics and takes serious steps to improve the deteriorating image of Pakistan Army.