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Pervez Musharraf becomes new Pakistan's civilian president

Pervez Musharraf became new Pakistan's civilian president. A day before he abdicated responsibility as army chief, which was the basis of his power for the last 8 years.

"Congratulations, Mr. President," Chief Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar said after a solemn-looking Musharraf had sworn his oath.

In his inaugural address, Musharraf welcomed as "good" for political reconciliation the return from exile of his old foes, former prime ministers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif.

However, neither were present at the ceremony in the state palace in Islamabad , and it remained unclear whether the changeover would defuse the threat of a boycott of upcoming parliamentary elections. Such a move would undercut Musharraf's effort to legitimize his rule through a democratic ballot.

"This is a milestone in the transition of Pakistan to the complete essence of democracy," Musharraf told an audience of government officials, foreign diplomats and military generals. "Elections will be held in January come whatever may."

embarked on a new, five-year term as Pakistan's civilian president Thursday, a day after ceding the powerful post of army chief which was the basis of his rule for the past eight years.

"Congratulations, Mr. President," Chief Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar said after a solemn-looking Musharraf had sworn his oath.

In his inaugural address, Musharraf welcomed as "good" for political reconciliation the return from exile of his old foes, former prime ministers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif.

However, neither were present at the ceremony in the state palace in Islamabad , and it remained unclear whether the changeover would defuse the threat of a boycott of upcoming parliamentary elections. Such a move would undercut Musharraf's effort to legitimize his rule through a democratic ballot.

"This is a milestone in the transition of Pakistan to the complete essence of democracy," Musharraf told an audience of government officials, foreign diplomats and military generals. "Elections will be held in January come whatever may."

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