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DATE=10/15/1999 TYPE=BACKGROUNDER TITLE=PAKISAN'S MILITARY GOVERNMENT NUMBER=5-44531 BYLINE=JIM RANDLE DATELINE=PENTAGON CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: U-S officials describe Pakistan's new military ruler as a highly-professional career officer who is likely to impose order on the country and then quickly hand power to a civilian government. But a Pakistani professor of international relations says he thinks the soldiers are likely to lead his nation for a very long time. V-O-A's Jim Randle reports. TEXT: U-S officials describe General Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's new `chief executive,' as a pro- Western secularist and a critic of religious extremists. They call him a skilled staff officer and proven warrior with a distaste for politics that might bring him to re-establish civilian rule soon. In a speech to the nation, General Musharraf dismissed many top officials and consolidated his grip on many key institutions in Pakistan. Pakistani-born International Relations Professor Adil Najam says the change amounts to martial law in everything but name. The Boston University professor says previous military government came to power in Pakistan promising to stay only a few months. /// Najam Act /// Those 90 days got extended to eleven years. This particular coup is not even going through the pretense of saying it is for a short time. All indications are that they are suggesting that the changes they want to bring are deep rooted enough that it will require a longer time. And therefore one can be reasonably sure that it will be longer than that. /// End Act /// Professor Najam says the previous civilian government was so unpopular that some Pakistanis welcomed the military takeover. He says General Musharraf is promising to change the constitution so future governments will change less often and have a stronger mandate from the voters. He is also promising to improve the faltering Pakistani economy and hold top politicians accountable for corruption and other misdeeds. /// Najam Act /// All three of those items - that the military has come in with constitutional reform, economic reform and accountability - are items that the Pakistani public would very much welcome. None of them however, are things that are easy to deliver, or can be delivered in the short term. Therefore, that may become the basis for the military wanting to stay longer. But it remains to be seen how long the people are willing to wait before they see anything being delivered on those three counts. /// End Act /// General Pervez Musharraf, was born in New Delhi, India, but moved to Pakistan early in life. He speaks the local languages of Pakistan as well as English and Turkish. He joined Pakistan's Army in 1964, was trained as an artillery officer and led commando units on several occasions. He was decorated for valor in one of Pakistan's wars with India, got some of his professional military education in Britain and served on the faculty of military colleges in Pakistan. (Signed). NEB/JR/JP 15-Oct-1999 15:43 PM EDT (15-Oct-1999 1943 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .