Podium: Pervez Musharraf: I am resigning to give my country the chance to heal

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The Independent Online

Nine years ago, Pakistan was about to be branded a failed and terrorist state. I assumed charge with the aim of rescuing the country. Since then I have tried to serve to the best of my ability during confrontations with India, 9/11 and its aftermath, and the devastating earthquake.

In all these crises we stood up thanks to the grace of God and saved Pakistan from the crises. In handling the problems, the sole aim was the well-being of the people and the safety and security of Pakistan. We introduced Pakistan's true image all over the world.

I'm proud of these achievements. From the beginning, I wanted to create a reconciliatory atmosphere in Pakistan's politics on a personal and institutional level. I talked about the three-phase transition to democracy in Pakistan. The third phase was achieved last year when I doffed my uniform and held free and fair elections in Pakistan. Pakistanis have been looking forward to prosperity and stability in the political atmosphere.

It is unfortunate my appeals to strive for reconciliation went unheeded. Some political forces chose confrontation. The President's office was accused of conspiring against the new democratic setup. I have publicly announced my support to the government. But the coalition government thinks me a problem and wants to impeach. What are they scared of and why do they want to do this?

Impeachment is the right of the Parliament. But I am confident that no charge can be proved against me. All my actions were for the good of the people and the country. All my major decisions had the consent of all concerned. I am not at all worried about the charge sheet because nothing can be proved.

But the larger issue is what it is going to cost Pakistan's economy, political and social order, honour and prestige of the highest office of the state. Such are the considerations uppermost in my mind.

Whether I'm impeached or not, the country's stability will be compromised. The office of the President will also be insulted. Pakistan is my love; now and always, my life is for Pakistan. I have defended and will continue to defend Pakistan. I want to be able to bring Pakistan out of the current crisis so I think perhaps I should do something. But I also do not want to do something that may generate uncertainty in the country.

Even if the impeachment is defeated, the relations between the President's office and the coalition government will not heal. Institutions will be endangered. With this situation in view and having consulted my legal and political advisors, I have decided to resign from my post.

My resignation will be handed over to the Speaker of the National Assembly. I want the people to be the judges, and let them decide my fate.

This is an edited extract from President Pervez Musharraf's resignation speech yesterday