February 25, 2008

President mulls over resigning: US, UK papers

Filed under: POST-ELECTIONS 2008 — civilsocietypakistan @ 2:02 am
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Updated at  

FEB 25, 2008
By our correspondent

WASHINGTON: Rather than being expelled from the Presidency, President Pervez Musharraf is considering to voluntarily quit the office, Washington Post reported.

Quoting a confidante of President Musharraf, the daily said the president has concluded that he has exhausted his options. The report said the reason of President Musharraf’s decision is an understanding among three main parties, which have agreed on formation of government at the centre and restoration of the pre-November 3 judiciary.

According to the report, the Bush administration has initiated the process for parting ways with the six-year old ally and establishing contacts with new civilian leadership of Pakistan. Quoting a senior official of the US State Department, the daily reported that none of them wanted Musharraf to be shown the door.

Quoting Pakistani officials, the daily said that immediately after coming to know about outcome of the February 18 polls President Musharraf wanted to resign but he was told that it might lead to a political crisis.

NNI adds: The Sunday Telegraph quoting aides of the president also said Pervez Musharraf is considering stepping down as president rather than waiting to be forced out by his victorious opponents. One close confidante said that the president believed he had run out of options after three of the main parties who triumphed in the general elections announced they would form a coalition government together, and also pledged to reinstate the country’s chief justice and 60 other judges sacked by Musharraf in November.

“He has already started discussing the exit strategy for himself,” a close friend said. “I think it is now just a matter of days and not months because he would like to make a graceful exit on a high.”

According to senior aides, Musharraf wants to avoid a power struggle with the newly elected parliament, in which his opponents will be close to the two-thirds majority needed to impeach him and remove him from office.

“He may have made many mistakes, but he genuinely tried to build the country and he doesn’t want to destroy it just for the sake of his personal office,” said an official close to the president.

Musharraf had called for a harmonious coalition after the defeat of his party — the PML-Q — but his political rivals have demanded he go. Officials said he had considered resigning immediately after the election results were known, but had been persuaded by party loyalists that his sudden departure could precipitate a crisis.

In an article published last week he insisted that he would serve out his five-year presidential term. Behind the scenes, his staff attempted to broker an agreement with PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari. Yet despite pressure from America, which has relied on Musharraf’s support for its war on terror, Zardari refused to strike a deal.

Presidential spokesman Maj Gen (R) Rashid Qureshi, meanwhile, denied report in the Sunday Telegraph. “I do not attach much credence to the report,” Qureshi said Sunday. “Nothing of this sort has been in president office,” he told Geo television.

The spokesman said that the reporter did not identify the source for his information that is why it does not have any credibility. To a question, Qureshi said the president has no role in government formation and it is up to the politicians to form governments.

1 Comment »

  1. In plain words what the US and west are saying is, “Musharraf is our man, he has served us well; no matter he has been a dictator for yaers upon years in your country, spoiling things and matters as he desired (well, he desired what we desired) but he has been very faitful and obedient to us. Please do let out man out honourablt.”
    If Musharraf has not done anything unfair why is he trying to run away. Why is he afriad of facing the people and thier will?

    Comment by Dr. Abdullah Areef — February 25, 2008 @ 8:20 am | Reply

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