Musharraf will lose all authority after stepping down as Army Chief: Imran

November 28th, 2007 - 4:30 pm ICT by admin  

Melbourne, Nov 28 (ANI): Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf will lose his power base and all authority when he steps down as Army Chief, Tehrik-i-Insaaf chief and former cricketer Imran Khan has predicted.
Musharraf was unlikely to maintain his desperately needed influence over the armed forces, Imran told The Australian.
“The moment he takes off his uniform, a whole new set of dynamics emerge,” Imran said.
“The reality is that he has no authority, no constituency, beyond his military uniform and his control of an army of almost 700,000 men,” he added.
General Ashfaq Kiyani, the former head of the ISI, would be a completely different Army Chief once he was sworn in as Musharraf’s replacement, Imran said.
“The moment Kiyani becomes (Army Chief) … he won’t be taking Musharraf’s calls. Things will change for Musharraf,” he said in Islamabad.
“That’s how the power dynamics works in Pakistan. And, Kiyani is very different from Musharraf. Musharraf has dug himself into a hole he cannot get out of. Kiyani doesn’t carry that kind of baggage,” he added.
A senior Western diplomat in Islamabad said that Musharraf would struggle to find support in the military if the crisis in Pakistan deteriorates.
“This is Musharraf’s moment of truth - whether, having removed himself from control of the most powerful institution in the country, and the one that has provided him with his power base since he staged his takeover, the army stays loyal to him,” the diplomat said.
“There’s no certainty that it will. Kiyani is very much his own man, with far better political antennae than Musharraf,” he added.
The diplomat said that Musharraf has no real constituency outside the army. It is going to be a very interesting situation.
Chief Justice Hameed Dogar will swear in Musharraf for another five-year term on November 29.
A crucial meeting of opposition leaders will take place tomorrow at Sharif’s estate on the outskirts of Lahore to decide whether to boycott the January 8 general election.
The meeting of leaders of the All Parties Democratic Movement, presided over by Sharif’s party, is regarded as vital in attempts to get all opposition parties to agree on a common stand on the election. (ANI)

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