Musharraf will face impeachment bid
Thursday 07 August 2008
Pakistan's ruling coalition today announced it will seek the impeachment of President Pervez Musharraf, cranking up pressure on the US-backed former general to resign.
Ruling party chief Asif Ali Zardari declared the decision was "good news for democracy" in Pakistan.
Announcing a joint coalition statement after two days of talks, he also said the four provincial assemblies should move motions demanding Musharraf take a vote of confidence from lawmakers immediately.
"The coalition further decided that it will immediately initiate impeachment proceedings. The coalition leadership will present a charge sheet against Gen. Musharraf," Zardari told a news conference, along side leaders of the other coalition parties.
Nawaz Sharif, who was ousted as prime minister in Musharraf's 1999 coup and is leader of the second largest coalition party, said, "I agree with what Mr. Zardari has said."
Despite his unpopularity in Pakistan, Musharraf has so far resisted calls to step down and insisted he will serve out his current five-year term after he was elected in a contentious parliamentary vote in October.
He dominated Pakistan for eight years, but ceded control of the powerful army last year and has been sidelined in government since the coalition parties trounced his allies in parliamentary elections in February.
Impeaching a president requires a two-thirds majority support of lawmakers in both houses of Parliament. Musharraf loyalists maintain the coalition would struggle to muster it, but Zardari expressed confidence they would succeed.
"We are optimistic that we will succeed," Zardari said. "We hope that 90 percent of the lawmakers will support us."
Tariq Azeem, a spokesman for the main pro-Musharraf opposition party, said it would oppose any impeachment of the president.
"We have backed him and voted for him so we are duty-bound to support him ... We will oppose impeachment."
He said there were more pressing issues facing the nation, including "runaway inflation" and sharp hikes in the price of food.
Azeem said he did not think the ruling coalition had the numbers in Parliament to impeach Musharraf, but conceded "things could go either way."
The ruling coalition has a comfortable majority in the National Assembly, or lower house, but Musharraf's supporters retain about half the seats in the Senate, or upper house.
The rivals for power
*Asif Ali ZaRdari
Widower of Benazir Bhutto, assassinated leader of his Pakistan People's Party whose members dominate government coalition. Spent several years in jail on corruption charges, although a Swiss case against him was dropped under the agreement between President Musharraf and Ms Bhutto which led to her return from exile. Holds presidential ambitions despite party leadership being held by his son Bilawal.
Former prime minister bent on revenge against President Musharraf who overthrew him in a 1999 coup, accusing him of corruption, and sending him into exile. Deported back to Saudi Arabia last September despite a court order allowing his return. Expected to block attempts by Zardari to become president. Pulled his Pakistani Muslim League-N ministers out of cabinet in May but says he still supports the coalition. By Omar Waraich in Islamabad
- 1 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 2 Dog thinks owner is drowning in lake, dives in and tries to pull him out
- 4 Chilling drone footage captures Auschwitz ahead of 70th anniversary of liberation
Asteroid narrowly scrapes past Earth: how to watch the closest space rock for decades as it flies by
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Greece elections: Greek PM Alexis Tsipras takes aim at 'neo-liberal' Europe as country gears up for prolonged austerity battle
Pornhub star Mia Khalifa receives death threats after being ranked the site's top adult actress
Prince Philip set to be knighted by Australia: Celebrate by reading his greatest gaffes
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd
Leaked documents show Ukip leaders approve NHS privatisation once it becomes more 'acceptable to the electorate'
£16400 - £17500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading online E-commerce ...
£27300 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a leading...
£22000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading boiler ...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join an awa...