Friday, August 8, 2008

Musharraf allies vow support against impeachment

This is from the BBC.
Now that Musharraf seems to be on his way out in Pakistan, U.S. policy is in dissaray. The dismissed judges have yet to be restored to their positions apparently since there is disagreement among major parties as to how this is to be done. The U.S. has been quite critical of Pakistan lately and has also negotiated a nuclear deal with India. This does not bode well for future Pakistan U.S. relationships.


Allies vow support for Musharraf
Supporters of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf have vowed to oppose moves to impeach him in parliament.
The former ruling PML-Q party says it is confident it can deny the governing coalition the two-thirds majority it needs in both houses of parliament.
Mr Musharraf has been meeting legal advisers to plan his next moves.
Ruling parties say he is incompetent and standing in the way of democracy. He has yet to respond. The US says it is an internal matter for Pakistan.
The BBC's M Ilyas Khan in Karachi says the president has apparently been exploring both his legal options and his chances to manipulate members of parliament, where the numbers appear to be loaded against him.
To observers in Pakistan, Mr Musharraf appears a worried man, as indicated by his decision to put off a visit to the Olympic Games opening ceremony in Beijing twice in as many days, our correspondent says.
'Recipe for disaster'
The media in Pakistan are quoting sources close to the president as saying he will contest the charges in parliament.
STEPS TO IMPEACHMENT
Impeachment proposers need 50% majority in Senate or National Assembly
President given notice of impeachment, and has three days to respond
Joint session of Senate and Assembly must be held between 7 and 14 days later to investigate charges
If resolution presented, joint session must approve with two-thirds majority
He himself has been keeping a low profile, but PML-Q leaders have not.
Mushahid Hussain, general secretary of the PML-Q, told Dawn News TV: "I personally oppose the president's power to sack the parliament and the government and believe it should be scrapped, but I also oppose the president's impeachment."
Another party leader, Chaudhry Pervez Elahi, said the ruling alliance had "made a hasty decision and they will be trapped in their own game".
Tariq Azim, who served as information minister under Mr Musharraf, called the impeachment move a "sure recipe for disaster".
"We are going to oppose it. It is a half-baked effort," he told the AFP news agency.
He was speaking a day after Pakistan's governing alliance leaders Asif Ali Zardari and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif addressed a packed news conference in Islamabad.
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Mr Zardari (r) vowed to try to restore judges sacked under emergency rule
"The coalition believes it is imperative to move for impeachment against Gen Musharraf," said Mr Zardari, the widower of assassinated former PM Benazir Bhutto and leader of Pakistan People's Party (PPP).
PML-N leader Mr Sharif said: "Pakistan cannot afford to see democracy derailed."
The leaders also promised to restore judges sacked under Mr Musharraf's emergency rule last November once impeachment was successful.
How to proceed on that issue has caused deep divisions between the two coalition parties since they swept elections in February.
Military role
An impeachment would take Pakistani politics into new territory, since no Pakistani leader has faced it before. Coalition leaders insist they have the numbers in parliament.
Mr Musharraf has previously said he would rather resign than face impeachment proceedings, but our correspondent says he appears bent on fighting back.
The process could drag on for weeks through Pakistan's provincial assemblies, its parliament and also perhaps its courts.
The president retains the power to dissolve parliament, but most analysts believe he is unlikely to do this.
He took power in a bloodless coup in 1999 and gave up control of the army last year. His allies were routed in elections in February.
Mr Musharraf was elected president for a five-year term last October in a controversial parliamentary vote. He is still thought to have heavy influence over the military and its reaction will remain crucial.
Pakistan has been ruled by military leaders for more than half of its existence since Partition in 1947.

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