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Monday, August 18, 2008

Musharraf resigns as Pakistan's president..

It remains to be seen what if any difference this will make with U.S. relations. The U.S. and Afghanistan have been critical of Pakistan of late suggesting that Pakistan is even cosying up to the Taliban in some cases and involved an attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul. The U.S. for its part has signed a nuclear agreement with India which is certain to anger Pakistan.
Musharraf more or less had to resign to avoid impeachment. Probably some deal has been made. He will probably have to leave Pakistan. He conferred with Saudi and U.S. officials before resigning so perhaps he may be off to the United States or Saudi Arabia!


Embattled Musharraf resigns as Pakistan's president
Coalition celebrates ex-general's departure as 'a victory of democratic forces'
Last Updated: Monday, August 18, 2008 2:17 PM ET
CBC News
A salesman at an electronics shop in Islamabad, Pakistan's capital, watches President Pervez Musharraf announce his resignation in a televised address to the nation. (Anjum Naveed/Associated Press)Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf resigned from office Monday before his political opponents could begin impeachment proceedings against him, saying he had "worked for the country in good faith."
Musharraf made the announcement in a nationally televised address a day after a committee of Pakistan's ruling coalition finalized a list of impeachment charges against the former army chief. The charges included violating the constitution and misconduct.
During his lengthy address, Musharraf dismissed the charges against him, calling them "baseless" and "a fraud against the nation." He said he was stepping down because he did not want Pakistan's "dignity to suffer."
"After consulting my legal advisers and nearest political supporters … in the interest of the nation, I resign from my post today," he said. "I hand over my future to the people's hands, and let them do justice."
Musharraf used his speech to defend his political and military record, citing his handling of Pakistan's economy, as well as education and infrastructure programs he instituted during his nine-year reign as president.
"For 44 years, I have protected this nation without thinking of my life," he said. "I hope the nation and the people will forgive my mistakes."
Choice for successor uncertain
Musharraf, a former general, had been facing intense pressure to quit from political opponents who defeated his allies in February's parliamentary elections.
Musharraf said he would submit his resignation to the speaker of the National Assembly later Monday but it was not immediately clear whether it would become effective the same day. The chairman of Pakistan's Senate, Mohammedmian Soomro, will take over as acting president when Musharraf steps down, Law Minister Farooq Naek said.
But it remains an open question whom parliament will elect to succeed Musharraf, partly because the ruling coalition has vowed to strip the presidency of much of its power.
There is speculation that the leaders of the two main ruling coalition parties — Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz Sharif — are interested in the role, although neither has openly acknowledged as much.
After Musharraf made his announcement, television footage showed groups of people celebrating in the streets in towns across Pakistan.
"It is very pleasing to know that Musharraf is no more," said Mohammed Saeed, a shopkeeper among a crowd of people dancing to drum beats and hugging each other at an intersection in the northwestern city of Peshawar.
Pakistan's stock market and currency both rose strongly on hopes that the country was bound for political stability.
Came to power in 1999 coup
Musharraf, a key U.S. ally in the war against the Taliban and al-Qaeda, came to power in a 1999 bloodless coup. He stepped down as army chief last year to run for a third term in office but still maintains close ties to the military.
His reputation suffered last year when he ousted dozens of judges and imposed emergency rule. He said at the time the measures were necessary to protect Pakistan from extremism and political instability. Upon news of Musharraf's resignation, lawyers began pressuring the ruling parties to restore the ousted judges.

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