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Thursday, January 1, 1998 Published at 11:12 GMT


Tarar sworn in as Pakistani president
image: [ Rafiq Tarar being sworn in as Pakistan's new president ]
Rafiq Tarar being sworn in as Pakistan's new president

Mohammad Rafiq Tarar has been sworn in as Pakistan's ninth president.

Wearing the traditional Pakistani dress of baggy pants and a long shirt, Tarar swore the oath of office in a simple ceremony at the presidential palace.

[ image: Rafiq Tarar casting his vote]
Rafiq Tarar casting his vote
Election officials said Tarar, 68, a former judge of the Supreme Court, won the presidential election with big majorities in the voting by two chambers of the national parliament and four provincial assemblies, which constitute the electoral college for the presidential election.

However, there is a chance that the Government-backed candidate could be disqualified from holding the position.

Viqar Ahmed, Pakistan analyst, on Mohammad Rafiq Tarar (32")
Rafiq Tarar has been nominated by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, even though he has little political experience.

Mr Tarar had to be given permission to stand in the election by the Lahore High Court after the Electoral Commission disqualified him for allegedly making derogatory remarks about the judiciary.

[ image: The former president, Farooq Leghari]
The former president, Farooq Leghari
The court said it would decide on his eligibility for office in January, after the new president is appointed. If the court finds against him, he would have to step down, it said.

Viqar Ahmed, Pakistan analyst, tells the BBC's Peter Dobbie about the constitutional crisis (1'22")
The ballot was made necessary by the resignation of Farooq Leghari, who resigned after a long-running confrontation with the government over the power of the Supreme Court.

As well as Mr Leghari's resignation, the state of confusion has seen the chief justice removed, and the head of the electoral commission replaced.

[ image: Nawaz Sharif]
Nawaz Sharif
Since the end of a long period of martial law in 1985, every elected government has been sacked by a president before completing its term.

Former President, Farooq Leghari, says Nawaz Sharif violated the constitution (1'00")
But in April this year, Nawaz Sharif used his majority to remove the president's power to dismiss the government.

Pakistan's politicians have always argued that if they were allowed to govern without the constant threat of removal, they could provide the stability the country has never had.

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