[JURIST] Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf [official website] told AP Wednesday that he expects to give up his position as army chief by the end of the month. Opposition groups had challenged Musharraf's eligibility to run for re-election as president while he still served as head of the army. The Supreme Court of Pakistan was on the brink of deciding the case when Musharraf declared a state of emergency [JURIST reports] in early November and issued a Provisional Constitution Order [text] barring the courts from making "any order against the President." In an AP interview, Musharraf also said that emergency rule is likely to continue until at least the upcoming parliamentary elections in January, and criticized former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto [personal website] - currently under house arrest - for allegedly inciting turmoil [JURIST report]. Musharraf told AP that he will not resign as president, saying that doing so would risk chaos in Pakistan.
Under the state of emergency, the government has cracked down on its critics, detaining thousands of lawyers, rights activists and opposition politicians. The declaration of emergency rule also effectively dismissed the 19 judges of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, which is being gradually reconstituted [JURIST report] by appointees sanctioned by Musharraf. AP has more.