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President Musharraf Declares He Will Stay On as Army Chief


Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has formally declared that he plans to continue to be the army chief despite his earlier promise to quit the post.

In an address to the nation Thursday, the general said he has decided to retain both portfolios for the sake of the economic and political stability of the country.

General Musharraf said the senate and the national assembly have already approved his move and the opposition must end their protests and respect the majority decision.

An alliance of religious opposition parties has said it will observe New Year's day as a "black day" if he does not quit.

General Musharraf seized power in a bloodless military coup in 1999. Earlier this year he said he would hold only the president's portfolio and quit as army chief by the end of this year. He made that promise to muster support for his constitutional amendments that gave him sweeping powers.