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Pakistan's Zardari Sworn in as President

  • VOA News

Asif Ali Zardari was sworn in as Pakistan's president on Tuesday, formally returning the country to civilian rule nine years after Pervez Musharraf seized power in a military coup.

Mr. Zardari, the widower of slain former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, signed the presidential oath in Islamabad and immediately pledged to work with Afghanistan to fight terrorism.

The ceremony was attended by dozens of Pakistan's political leaders and foreign dignitaries -- including Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

Hours later Mr. Zardari held his first news conference as president and invited Mr. Karzai to join him.

The two leaders vowed to work together to fight Islamic militants and bring stability to the region.

U.S. President George Bush telephoned Mr. Zardari and pledged his full support for Pakistan's efforts to fight terrorism in tribal regions bordering Afghanistan.

Mr. Zardari, the head of the Pakistan People's Party, easily won the presidency during a vote among lawmakers on Saturday.

He has inherited a number of pressing problems, including a troubled economy and international pressure to crack down on militants.

The Pakistani president said that, similar to most countries around the world, Islamabad will continue to accept foreign aid.

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