Musharraf resigns as Pakistan's president
The unpopular leader announced Monday he would step down, avoiding the drive to impeach him.
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Musharraf, who has been largely sidelined since his rivals came to power, finally yielded after the coalition finalized impeachment charges against him and threatened to send a motion to parliament later this week.Skip to next paragraph
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The charges were expected to include violating the Constitution and gross misconduct, likely in connection with the ouster of the judges and the declaration of emergency rule.
A defiant Musharraf, seated in an office between two national flags, listed the many problems facing Pakistan, including its sinking economy and a chronic power shortage. He said his opponents were wrong to blame him for the mounting difficulties and suggested they were going after him to mask their own failings.
"I pray the government stops this downward slide and takes the country out of this crisis," he said.
Allies and rivals of the president said talks had suggested that Musharraf might quit in return for legal immunity from future prosecution.
Sharif's party insists he should be tried for treason, which carries a maximum punishment of death.
"The crimes of Musharraf against the nation, against the judiciary, against democracy, and against rule of law in the country cannot be forgiven by any party or individual," its spokesman, Ahsan Iqbal, said Monday.
The ruling parties also came under immediate pressure from protesting lawyers to meet a promise to restore the ousted judges – a matter fraught with political calculations because of Sharif's vociferous championing of their cause.
Law Minister Farooq Naek said both the means and the timing of their restoration remained open.
A muted international response
The international response made clear how world leaders had moved on from their reliance on Musharraf to keep his nuclear-armed nation on its current, moderate track.
Nations including British and Germany, which both have troops in Afghanistan and worry about Al Qaeda plotting attacks on their soil from havens in Pakistan, urged the civilian government to bolster their security policies as well as Pakistani democracy.
However, the Afghan government, which accuses Pakistan of secretly aiding the Taliban, could not resist a parting shot.Musharraf "was not someone good for Afghanistan," Interior Ministry spokesman Zemeri Bashary said, accusing him of being an ally of the US in words only.
A US Embassy spokesman declined to comment after Musharraf's speech, referring calls to Washington.
"Pakistan and the United States have a joint interest in fighting terror," Rice said on Fox News television. "That's what we're concentrating on, that and helping Pakistan to sustain its economy, to build its schools, its health. We have a broad Pakistan policy."