Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Bhutto: Musharraf to Quit As Army Chief
Pakistan's President, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, has agreed to step down as the country's military chief during negotiations on a power-sharing deal with Pakistan's former prime minister and opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, she told CNN Wednesday.
"This is no longer an issue in the negotiations, because General Musharraf recognizes that it is very difficult to move to a transition towards democracy when there's a chief of army staff ruling the country," Bhutto told CNN.
"I think he wants to make the right decision, so I expect he's going to take the uniform off."
Pakistani cabinet minister Sheikh Rashid confirmed that Musharraf has agreed to step down as army chief.
But it is up to Musharraf to announce his decision, Bhutto said, adding that the issue of his role as army chief is "no longer a hurdle in the negotiations that the opposition and I have been having with him."
"Earlier we had left it to the courts to decide this issue," she said, referring to Musharraf's army chief position. "But now we have bilaterally decided that this issue will be resolved."
Bhutto has previously said she is considering returning as Pakistan's prime minister under Musharraf's government if he steps down as head of Pakistan's military.
She said negotiations between her opposition party and Musharraf involve appointing a caretaker government, holding fair elections and returning to parliament powers that were removed after the 1999 coup in which Musharraf seized power.
A power-sharing deal between Bhutto and Musharraf would require Pakistan's Supreme Court to change the country's constitution to allow Musharraf to seek a third term.
Posted by S. Abbas Raza at 03:24 PM | Permalink