08/08/2008, 00.00
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Musharraf at a crossroad, resign or turn to the army

by Qaiser Felix
The president’s two main opponents call for his impeachment. Musharraf must choose between resigning or forcing the situation with the army’s help. Bhutto’s widow Zardari says 90 per cent of MPs and senators are in favour of the procedure.
Islamabad (AsiaNews) – After cancelling his visit to the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf may soon face impeachment procedures. The leaders of the governing coalition, Asif Ali Zardari, head of the Pakistan People’s Party and widow of Benazir Bhutto, and Nawaz Sharif, head of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, the second largest party in parliament, made an announcement to that effect yesterday.

President Musharraf consulted his legal advisors but has few options. The first one is peaceful and democratic, namely resignation. The second one is constitutional but difficult because it involves dissolving the National and the four provincial assemblies which he could do with strong support from the Pakistan Army.

If the president goes for a vote of confidence in the National and provincial assemblies and he loses, he will be subject to impeachment procedures on the following charges: weakening the democratic process, the Federation and the economy which is now at an impasse; causing the worst power shortage in the country’s history; and not resigning after his allies were defeated in last February’s elections or as a result of the non-confidence motion.

Under the constitution a two-third majority in the lower and upper houses of the parliament is needed to impeach Musharraf.

Should it happen Musharraf would become the first head of state in the history of Pakistan to be forced out of office.

In yesterday’s press conference the president’s main opponent, Asif Ali Zardari, was confident.

“We have the votes and we also have the courage,” he told reporters, claiming that the impeachment motion would get a 90 per cent majority.

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See also
Terrorism on the offensive as the debate over a new president heats up
Muslim League withdraws its ministers, plunging Pakistan government into crisis
Delay “expected” in Pakistan Election
Lahore: supporters of ex Prime Minister Sharif stopped by police
Islamabad: talks underway for a new government


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