Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has stepped down as chief of the army in a ceremony transferring power to his hand-picked successor, General Ashfaq Kayani.
The resignation fulfills Mr. Musharraf's promise to resign his military command once his re-election as president was confirmed by the Supreme Court. That confirmation came last week.
The outgoing chief of staff addressed a crowd of government officials, journalists and military officers in Rawalpindi Wednesday, wearing a uniform studded with medals. He said he was sad to leave the army after 46 years of service, but he expressed confidence in its new leader, General Ashfaq Kayani.
He says the army is under immense pressure from conflicts in Pakistan's tribal areas, an ongoing insurgency in Baluchistan, and terrorist groups. Still, he says he is confident the military will prevail.
Mr. Musharraf's swearing-in as president is due to take place Thursday.