Musharraf Ends an Era in Pakistan

Musharraf will take the oath as a civilian president Thursday. The big question now is whether stepping down as army chief will do anything to diffuse the political crisis that's gripped the country since March.

Some Pakistanis have rejected the compromise that resulted in Musharraf relinquishing his control of the army without lifting martial law, saying it was cooked up by Washington.

Others praised the move, saying it would restore stability to a nation that has been racked by weeks of violence.

Lawyers, who have led months of protests over the crackdown, immediately took to the streets, demanding a swift end to emergency rule and that the military leader withdraw from politics altogether.

Opposition politicians like Benazir Bhutto want Musharraf to lift emergency rule ahead of general elections set for early January.

In a nation that's deeply distrustful of Washington's motives here, some are already posturing themselves as anti-American.

"We are against extremism and terrorism," Nawaz Sharif, another former prime minister who just returned from exile, told reporters. "But it doesn't mean to allow foreign countries to bomb our people."

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