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Will Musharraf quit Pakistan army?

A UK daily says the President has agreed to shed his uniform in a power-sharing deal with Benazir Bhutto.

world Updated: Aug 29, 2007 12:31 IST

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has agreed to shed his uniform in a power-sharing deal with self-exiled former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, according to a British daily.

"We are close to an agreement but we are still not there. However, the uniform issue has been resolved. Musharraf has agreed to resign as army chief," Bhutto told The Daily Telegraph in an interview published on Wednesday.

"The uniform issue is key and there has been a lot of movement on it in the recent round of talks," the former Prime Minister said, while referring to negotiations currently going on between "Musharraf's emissaries and her party" in London.

Bhutto, who had recently met Musharraf in the UAE apparently to clinch a political arrangement to ensure her return home and his re-election, has consistently claimed that she wouldn't strike a deal with the President unless "he steps down as army chief".

However, there was no official confirmation on this from Musharraf's emissaries who're currently in Britain. The President had recently announced he would seek re-election in uniform from the present assemblies.

It may be mentioned that a leading Pakistani daily had also reported on Tuesday, quoting sources, that Musharraf had offered to doff his uniform even before the presidential polls slated for next month.

"But in the trade-off, he wants all political parties to agree to re-elect him as President for the next five years after the formation of the new assemblies following general elections in the Islamic nation," The Dawn quoted sources as saying.

Even Pakistan's Railway Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said on Monday: "The President has made up his mind on his uniform. He'll make an announcement at an appropriate time."

First Published: Aug 29, 2007 11:52 IST