Musharraf to Step Down, Take Civilian Oath Thursday

Gen. Pervez Musharraf will step down as head of Pakistan's military and be sworn in as a civilian president on Thursday, an army spokesman said.

"He is going to take oath as has been announced by government on the 29th, most probably, so he is going to take off his uniform a day before that," spokesman Maj. Gen. Waheed Arshad said Monday.

Civilian officials have repeatedly said that Musahrraf would step down imminently as army chief, a key demand of domestic opponents threatening to boycott January's parliamentary elections. But Arshad's statement was the first from the military naming a date for him to restore direct civilian rule.

Meanwhile, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, fresh from a triumphant return from exile, registered Monday as a candidate in the parliamentary elections.