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Pak President Musharraf to quit as Army Chief next year

IRNA

Islamabad, Dec 24, IRNA - Pakistani President General Pervez 
Musharraf will quit as army chief in December next year (2004), 
according to an agreement signed between the government and alliance 
of Islamic groups on Wednesday. 
The agreement was signed by the head of the ruling coalition 
Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, Senator SM Zafar, Secretary General of 
Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) Maulana Fazal-ur Rehman and central 
leader Liaquat Baloch in Islamabad after almost one-year of 
negotiations. 
Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali was also present at the 
signing ceremony along with several ministers and leaders of allies 
of the government. 
The agreement says that General Musharraf will remain president 
after removing military uniform. However, he will have to take vote 
of confidence from the National Assembly, Senate and four provincial 
assemblies within one month after taking off military uniform. 
"The agreement will boost image of democracy in Pakistan," 
Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed told reporters after the 
meeting. 
"It will create cordial atmosphere for Pakistan at international 
level." 
President`s power to dissolve the National Assembly has also been 
made conditional upon decision of Supreme Court. 
The president will file a reference in the Supreme Court within 
15 days of dissolution of the parliament and the apex court will 
announce verdict within a month. 
The same will be practiced in case of dissolution of provincial 
assemblies. 
The two sides agreed to present a Constitutional package for 
approval in the National Assembly on January 26. 
Giving details of the nine-point agreement, the MMA leader 
Liaquat Baloch told a news conference that National Security Council 
would be formed under the act of the Parliament and necessary 
amendments for this purpose would be made in the constitution. 
He said President`s discretionary powers would be converted into 
consultation with the Prime Minister. 
Necessary amendments would be made in the constitution under 
which the Senate, National Assembly and the Provincial Assemblies 
through a vote of Confidence would affirm the President`s five year 
term which would be for the current term and a substitute for election
of the President. 
The President shall be deemed to be elected and this would not be 
challengeable in any court or authority. 
It was also agreed that both parties would support the 
constitutional amendments for continuation of the present term of the 
President. 
The MMA members would not be bound to give confidence vote but 
they would not vote against the president nor would show any 
opposition. 
The MMA members would be present in the Parliament and Provincial 
Assemblies during voting process. 
Under this agreement, the government party and the MMA would be 
bound to jointly prepare the constitutional bill, present it and get 
it passed by two third majority from the Parliament. 
Prime Minister Jamali has said that the agreement with Islamic 
groups would strengthen democracy and democratic institutions in the 
country. 
Talking to newsmen in Islamabad on Wednesday after the signing of 
the agreement between the government and the MMA the Prime Minister 
said President General Pervez Musharraf has shown maximum 
flexibility, accommodation and sagacity which led to reaching the 
agreement. 
TK/TSH/213 
End 



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