Retired Pakistani generals to march against Musharraf

May 20th, 2008 - 1:23 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Pervez Musharraf

Islamabad, May 20 (IANS) Retired Pakistani Army generals, including some who mentored President Pervez Musharraf, are planning a long march and a sit-in before the Army House in Rawalpindi to force him to vacate so his successor as army chief can move in. “The long march, the date of which will be announced soon, is being given final touches,” The News reported Tuesday.

Former Pakistan Army chief Gen. Mirza Aslam Beg and former Inter-Services Intelligence chief Gen. Hamid Gul would lead the procession that is expected to be joined by about 200 retired army officers.

The move comes even as Pakistani lawyers have announced they would begin a long march June 10 to demand the restoration of the Supreme Court and High Court judges Musharraf sacked after declaring an emergency last November.

Musharraf had on Nov 28 last year handed over the army chief’s baton to Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani but cited security considerations to continue occupying the Army House in the garrison town of Rawalpindi instead of shifting to the president’s house Aiwan-e-Sadar in Islamabad.

“The presence of Gen. Ali Quli Khan in the rally would be watched with a lot of interest by many as he was not only the coursemate of Musharraf but once the main candidate for the slot of chief of army staff,” The News said.

Khan had fallen victim to “palace intrigues” as then prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s “personal bias” against him had helped Musharraf to capture the top slot in 1999, the newspaper said.

It’s quite another matter that Musharraf overthrew Sharif in a military coup in October of the same year.

According to Brig. (retd) Mian Mohammad Mahmud, a graduate of the first batch of the Pakistani Military Academy, efforts were under way to rope in the maximum number of retired generals for the demonstration as the issue concerned the reputation of the Pakistan Army.

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