Pervez Musharraf announces his resignation

Pervez Musharraf, the Pakistani president who was facing impeachment, has announced in a speech that was broadcast on national television that he will resign from his position as President of Pakistan. He was facing impeachment on charges of violating the constitution and gross misconduct.

The hour-long speech started at 13:00 local time (07:00 UTC), and it consisted of Musharraf explaining, in Urdu, his reasons for resigning.

“If I was doing this just for myself, I might have chosen a different course,” he said, in the beginning parts of the speech. “But I put Pakistan first, as always,” he continued. “Whether I win or lose the impeachment, the dignity of the nation would be damaged, the office of the president harmed.”

The former President then said that “Even if I beat this impeachment, relations between the presidency and the government can never be fixed,” continuing to explain his reasons for resigning. He said that he believes that “pillars of the state – parliament and the judiciary – would be harmed and, God forbid, the army might have been dragged in,” if he did not resign.

Despite his resignation, he remained adamant that the charges against him are incorrect. “Not a single charge can be proved against me,” he said, emphasizing this belief.

Just three days ago, the chief spokesperson for Musharraf denied reports that came out Thursday indicating that the president would step down within days.

On asylum, Condoleezza Rice on “Fox News Sunday” said that “Musharraf would not be going to the United States. This (asylum) is an issue that is not on the table.” Musharraf stated he will stay in Pakistan in a house he is building in an exclusive enclave on Islamabad near a golf club.

Meanwhile, the Constitution provides, a new president must be chosen within 30 days. The resignation permits the 4-month-old coalition government to choose a new president by a vote of the Parliament and provincial assemblies. US-based Newsweek magazine reported that “the president would ‘fly into exile in Saudi Arabia, where he is to remain for the next three months.”

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