By Rageh Omaar/Farah Durrani
Rageh Omaar and Farah Durrani follow the twists and turns of recent events in Pakistan, with extraordinary access to Pervez Musharraf, the Pakistani president, as he hands over command of the army to his trusted friend and confidant General Ashfaq Kayani.
Musharraf confides in Rageh that the decision to leave the army was a deeply emotional one. He recalls the handing-over ceremony on November 29 as bittersweet.
“This army is my life. This army is my passion,” he says. “I have loved this army. From tomorrow morning, this relationship will change, and I will be no more in uniform.”
Musharraf has ruled the country since 1999, when he seized power in a bloodless military coup. Since then he has faced a rising number of chronic national difficulties from poverty and sectarianism, lack of accountability and trust in governance, to regional disputes in Baluchistan and Waziristan on the Afghan border – all from his joint position as military leader and president.
In a country with numerous influential religious-political parties that hold deep anti-American sentiments, his decision to become a key US ally in the attempt to oust the Taliban has proved to be intensely controversial.
Against the backdrop of an increasingly isolated military government, Rageh and Farah follow the increasing numbers of lawyers and judiciary who lead a grassroots opposition against what they describe as a military dictatorship.
With the promise of democratic elections eagerly anticipated in January, Rageh assesses the landscape for transition and change in government speaking to key political figures in the opposition movement including a focused Benazir Bhutto and a weary Imran Khan, now released from a spell in prison during the recent period of emergency rule imposed by Musharraf.