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Musharraf thunders- even "Quayamat" won't stop elections

The new President of Pakistan after taking oath of office promised the country "come hell of high water, elections will be held". Twisting his mouth derisively he said any talk of boycott should be ignored. Parvez Musharraf dressed in a black bandh gala suit was administered oath of office in capital Islamabad this morning by Chief Justice Abdul Hamid Dogar. Breaking with convention, the new President decided to address the august gathering. Neither Benazir Bhutto nor Nawaz Sharif or his family members were present, but there was a large contingent of judges, several army officers and colourfully attired ladies, including the first lady Sahiba Musharraf.

The President began saying that it was a "nostalgic day for him" as he had bid goodbye to his life in the army and was entering a new phase but he said he would continue to work closely with the army "to protect and honor the dignity of Pakistan". He made several references to General Kiyani who he said would lead the army "as well if not better" than him. He said he had "full faith and trust in General Kiyani."

Being very candid, he referred to the years after 1999 when he wore "two hats" as President and Army Chief and said, "There was never a dull moment." He went on to list his achievements and claimed that he extricated Pakistan "from a failed sate to a thriving nation." Even as he demitted office as Army Chief day before yesterday and takes over as President today, not a trace of humility is visible in the man who has emerged as the only publicist for his tenure.

He said that his "noble intentions" of holding elections on schedule were "derailed" by a "conspiracy" by "elements in the judiciary". After referring to the Judiciary indirectly a few times, Musharraf gave up all pretence and then said "the ex-Chief Justice" was the reason why the country was heading to "a state of chaos." Dropping his voice a few decibels he said, "extraordinary circumstances needed extraordinary measures." He almost sounded like an American President before ordering strike in a foreign nation.

But, "it was a difficult choice," muttered President Musharraf. "I went against my wishes…I had to act and I did act in the interest of Pakistan." That was said probably just in case the domestic viewer watching on PTV thought that he had somebody or some other nation's interest in mind wile imposing emergency, thrashing lawyers, imprisoning politicians and crushing the media.

And then he made the Freudian slip He said he wanted to give up his uniform on January 15th but was prevented by "circumstances" and conspirators. Somebody corrected him and said not January but November. He corrected himself and without a trace of embarrassment said that "the most unfortunate part" of the whole "derailment process" was that he could not complete the 3 rd stage of his plan. That plan was to get Kiyani to take over on November 15 and Musharraf take oath of office as President. Oh well ! it happened two weeks later, right so what's the big deal one might wonder.

But there is more. President Musharraf promised that he is going to take Pakistan on the path of "economic growth" with the support of General Kiyani. What an Army General has to do with economic growth and where do the Prime Minister and his/her cabinet fit into this scheme is anyone's guess. "Come hell or high water, elections will be held."
He will break the back of terrorism he thundered. And there is more to come. As President he will address the nation on PTV tonight. More words, more promises. The General (retd) isn’t going nowhere.

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