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Last Updated: Friday, 21 September 2007, 16:01 GMT 17:01 UK
Musharraf shakes up Pakistan army
Pervez Musharraf
The general seized power in a coup
The Pakistani President, Pervez Musharraf, has made a series of top-level military appointments.

They come days after he promised to step down as army chief if he was re-elected as president.

Nadeem Taj, who has close personal ties to the president, has been promoted to lieutenant-general and appointed head of the influential security service.

Lt Gen Mohsin Kamal has been made commander of the army's most important garrison, in Rawalpindi near Islamabad.

Weakest phases

Correspondents say that reshuffles in the army are always closely scrutinised in Pakistan, because the military has ruled the country for more than half the country's 60-year history.

Pakistani soldier
The military is one of Pakistan's most powerful institutions
This year's round of promotions and retirements has assumed an added significance because Gen Musharraf is widely thought to be going through one of his weakest phases since coming to power in 1999.

The BBC's Sanjay Dasgupta says that this round of appointments is being seen as part of larger move by President Musharraf to place a core group of loyal supporters in key positions before he quits as army chief.

Who his successor will be is now the big question in Pakistan's military-dominated politics, he adds.

Power-sharing deal

Earlier this week, Gen Musharraf's top lawyer said he would give up the post of army chief if he was re-elected for another term of office.

In a statement to the Supreme Court, the lawyer said that if Gen Musharraf won the election, he would be sworn in for a new term as a civilian.

He is seeking re-election by parliament before its term expires in mid-October.

On Monday, the Supreme Court began debating his right to remain army chief if he stood for president again.

The country's largest political party, Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party (PPP), has been holding negotiations about a possible power-sharing deal, a condition of which is that Gen Musharraf steps down from his military role.

The commission said a constitutional rule that retiring state servants could not run for office until two years had elapsed did not apply to presidential candidates.

There had been growing opposition to controversial amendments - to the constitution and in parliament - allowing Gen Musharraf to be both president and army chief until November 2007.




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