Pakistan’s Musharraf will resign
The President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf will resign within days according to reports by both The New York Times (NYT) and The Wall Street Journal (WSJ). As recently as Wednesday, Musharraf had been quoted as saying he would “fight the impeachment”.
NYT reports that Musharraf will step down rather than face impeachment charges that have been brought by a broad coalition within the Pakistan Parliament. The paper goes on to say that how he steps down and whether he can stay in the country is being negotiated behind closed doors.
WSJ was able to obtain confirmation that he would resign, citing a person familiar with the situation. “Musharraf will neither face impeachment nor be prosecuted,” said the WSJ’s source. “We expect a major development in the next 48 hours.”
Musharraf is reportedly holding out for safe passage and immunity from prosecution. Apparently, secret talks with the Pakistan Peoples Party began last week.
The neutrality of Pakistan’s military may have been a crucial factor. “They are not even putting pressure on the civilians” to stop the president’s ouster, said Arif Nizami, editor of the The Nation. “They are saying, ‘If you do it according to the book, it’s none of our business.’ They have pushed against Mr. Musharraf.”
“The United States is now accepting Musharraf’s removal as a fait accompli,” said Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, a member of the Pakistan Muslim League (N) and a minister in the coalition government. “They just want that he should not be humiliated. We don’t want his humiliation either.”