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New Pakistani Prime Minister Sworn In - 2002-11-23

Pakistan is again to be run by an elected civilian government after three years under military rule, as the recently-elected Prime Minister, Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali, is sworn into office Saturday. But the general who led the military coup will be watching over the new government's shoulders.

The swearing-in ceremony took place at the presidential palace in Islamabad, attended by parliamentary leaders, diplomats and senior army officials.

The first batch of 14 cabinet ministers and six ministers of state were also sworn in at Saturday's ceremony. The new civilian government will run the country on a day-to-day basis, for the first time since the military coup three years ago.

The prime minister's oath of office was administered to Mr. Jamali by President Pervez Musharraf, who seized power in a military coup three years ago. "I, Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali, as prime minister of Pakistan, will discharge my functions honestly, in the best of my ability in accordance with the constitution of Pakistan," he said.

Pakistan's general election on October 10 produced a divided parliament, in which Mr. Jamali's pro-military Pakistan Muslim League party won the most seats. The 58-year-old political veteran won the support of smaller groups and some defectors from former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's party in order to form a government.

President Musharraf has returned Pakistan to democratic rule, but he has amended the constitution to empower himself to dismiss the government. He has also institutionalized the military's role in politics, and has extended his own term for another five years.

Under President Musharraf's administration, Pakistan, which borders Afghanistan, has become a key ally in the U.S.-led war on terrorism. Mr. Jamali has pledged his country's continued support for that effort, and in general for Mr. Musharraf's political, economic and foreign polices.