Musharraf will face impeachment bid

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.

*Nawaz Sharif

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

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Web Designer / Front End Developer

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast expanding web managem...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor