Pakistan: Musharraf prepares army departure


Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf bid farewell to Pakistani troops in a ceremony today. Officials in his government say he plans to step down as the leader of the country’s military tomorrow. Then, on Thursday, he is expected to be sworn in as a civilian president.

The moves come one day after Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, whom Musharraf deposed in a coup in 1999, returned to the country from exile. Sharif criticized Musharraf yesterday and threatened to lead his party into boycotting January elections.

The Wall Street Journal reports that U.S. officials welcomed Musharraf’s cession of his military post, but remain concerned that Sharif’s reemergence could undermine joint efforts with Pakistan’s government to track down al-Qaeda and Taliban militants.

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