Musharraf Retires As Army Chief

By: Stephanie Sy, ABC News
By: Stephanie Sy, ABC News

In Pakistan, a tactical concession of great symbolic importance.

President Pervez Musharraf relinquished his post as head of the nation's military.

That move would put Pakistan back under civilian rule.

It was not the farewell to arms he probably imagined. Since declaring emergency rule, President Pervez Musharraf has been under intense pressure to retire as chief of army staff, a position he held for more than nine years.

It was a difficult concession for the career military man.

At times, he was close to tears as he addressed the military brass one last time as chief.

He called them family.

"Every good thing comes to an end," said Musharraf.

"Everything is mortal," he added.

Even though he took power in a bloodless coup, Musharraf gained credibility in the West when he became an ally in the U.S. war on terror.

Without the title of army chief, arguably more powerful than the position of president in this country, there are questions about how long he can politically survive.

Musharraf's hand-picked successor, General Kayani, is a moderate with close ties to the U.S.

The military transition is expected to go smoothly. Musharraf can only hope that his cadre of generals will remain loyal, now that he is no longer their leader.

Now that he has hung up his uniform, he will be sworn in for a second term as president on Nov. 29.

This time as a civilian, with an uncertain grip on power.

Musharraf's retirement as general caps a 46-year career in the nation's armed forces and ends nine years of military rule.


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