Move will enable Pakistan’s president to be sworn in as a civilian leader.
“I am not a fan of Musharaf, but I can see that he has Pakistan’s interest at heart when he says he wants to bring real democracy to the country.”
Jinah, Tamil Nadu, India
The oath was taken at the Aiwan-e-Sadr presidential palace one day after Musharraf stepped down as the head of Pakistan’s military.
Wearing a dark traditional tunic, he pledged to uphold the constitution and to do his utmost to preserve and protect the nation.
Abdul Hameed Dogar, the chief justice Musharraf hand-picked after purging the supreme court when he imposed emergency rule on November 3, administered the oath to Musharraf.
Musharraf said: “We want democracy, we want human rights, we want stability, but we will do it our way,” in his first speech as civilian president.
“We understand our society, our environment, better than anyone in the West,” he said.
Musharraf welcomed the return from exile of Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif, both former prime ministers at the swearing-in ceremony.
However, neither were present at the ceremony and it remains unclear whether the changeover will defuse the threat of a boycott of the elections.
Such a move would undercut Musharraf’s effort to legitimise his rule through a democratic ballot.
As civilian president, Musharraf will have the power to dismiss the government.
On Wednesday, however, Bhutto said that she was “not in a hurry to accept Pervez Musharraf as a civilian president”.
In the city of Lahore, about 250 lawyers in black suits clashed with police outside the city’s main court.
“We don’t accept Musharraf even without his uniform. He has to go,” said Malik Mohammad Arshad, a lawyer.