Musharraf is quickly losing his grip on Pakistan
Parliament is expected to confirm a new prime minister on Monday, further isolating Musharraf.
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Nor is it with Musharraf anymore. As dual president and Army chief of staff, Musharraf once wielded power through compliant allies and military might. Now, his political allies have been routed, and since he left the Army, the military appears to have pulled back from politics.Skip to next paragraph
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"All indications are that the Army is not interested" in saving him, says Shafqat Mahmood, a columnist for The News.
By the letter of the Constitution, the presidency is largely ceremonial. The office has virtually no say in the day-to-day affairs of the government. That resides in the prime minister position.
In the coming days and weeks, the new government promises to begin a process that could spell the end of Musharraf's era all together.
Within 30 days of assuming power, the parliament will reinstate the judges sacked by Musharraf when he declared a state of emergency Nov. 2. It is expected to be a time of reenergized lawyers' protests over his rule.
Back in November, the Supreme Court was expected to rule on the legitimacy of Musharraf's October reelection. Before it could rule, Musharraf declared a state of emergency and removed four justices. Some analysts believe the declaration of emergency was to prevent the Supreme Court from ruling against him.
Now, the issue is coming to a head. The PPP has formed a coalition government with former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), which campaigned on a platform of restoring the judges. The expectation is that if the judges are restored, they will invalidate Musharraf's presidency.
According to the Constitution, presidents are supposed to be chosen by provincial and national representatives elected after general elections. Musharraf held his own election in October – five months before the general election – to ensure that he would be elected by assemblies loyal to him.
Musharraf has few tools to prevent the ruling coalition. He can disband parliament, but that would likely lead to enormous public upheaval – something the US wants to avoid. This leaves him with only the power of persuasion – "using his position to divide people and manipulate loyalties," says Mr. Rahman.
Yet the momentum for restoration is so great that Wajihuddin Ahmed, a leader of the movement to reinstate the judges, considers it a faît accompli. "I have no doubt about it," he says.
Others agree that the momentum against Musharraf and in favor of the judges would make it hard for the PPP to back out. Says Mr. Mahmood: "There is going to be tension between the government and Musharraf."
• Material from the Associated Press was used in the report.