Islamabad, Pakistan: August 8, 2008 – IR Summary/NYT – President Pervez Musharraf is a strong guy, a seasoned personality of both civil and military, not easy to bend, or surrender. He may stage a spirited defense against impeachment charges which the governing coalition is pursuing against him, he may not resign, and probably he should fight to the best.
Mr. Musharraf was being blamed that he would rig the election and would ruin the prospects of establishing democracy in Pakistan, but he stood as a rock, a gentleman, a man of word and honest so far the elections were concerned.
Not caring for the consequences, he arranged to get the fair elections conducted in the country in spite of the fact that the political wave was blowing against him and he pretty well know that the same could ruin his career. But he did not care, he served his country sincerely.
Now if the leaders of the two major political parties in the ruling coalition announced want to impeach him, what should he do? Should he surrender and not try to struggle to escape the situation?
Mr. Musharraf has been serving the nation for more than eight years as President and now I ask Pakistan people to tell honestly from the core of their heart, should be lie down to face such a great humiliation without any cause, fault or reason?
Politicians have no character, they change as per the circumstances, and should Musharraf quietly surrender before them to face impeachment proceeding and blot the Pakistan history.
The political parties have set certain grounds for impeachment which include mismanagement of the economy, along with Mr. Musharraf’s imposition last November of emergency rule and the firing of nearly 60 judges, the party leaders said.
If President Musharraf were there in Pakistan and had he not established good relations with America, the economy of that country would have deteriorated from bad to worse. If it is stable, it is due to him.
NYT - Mushahid Hussain, Secretary General of the Pakistan Muslim League-Q party, who supports Mr. Musharraf, gave his stand that part of the president’s defense strategy would be to draw a distinction between himself and the two leaders of the ruling coalition, Asif Ali Zadari of the Pakistan Peoples Party, and Nawaz Sharif, the leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-N.
“He will say: ‘Look here, I’ve been in office for eight years. I’ve made some mistakes, but at least I am not a crook. I have no foreign bank accounts, no properties abroad, unlike the opposition leaders who are gunning for me,’” Mr. Hussain said.
In the 1990s, both Mr. Zardari and Mr. Sharif faced corruption charges in Pakistan. Mr. Zardari served nearly eight years in prison on charges that included paying for a country manor in Britain with illegal gains from Pakistan. On his return to Pakistan earlier this year after the assassination of his wife, the former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto,the corruption charges were dropped as part of an amnesty deal with the Musharraf government.
Mr. Hussain said Mr. Musharraf would also seek to draw a sharp distinction between himself, a two-term president and an experienced soldier and former chief of the Pakistani Army, and Mr. Zardari, who served in the cabinet when his wife was prime minister in the 1990s.
“What is the choice? It is between President Musharraf and President Zardari. That is the question for 160 million people of Pakistan,” Mr. Hussain said.
Mr. Zardari has made it known that he would like to be president, according to Pakistani and Western officials. As leader of the majority party, he could seek the nomination for president. The appointment of the president is decided by a vote of the national legislature and the provincial assemblies.
The coalition has called a session of the National Assembly for next Monday to start the impeachment process. It would probably take at least a week to formally approve the start of proceedings. After those preliminaries, the speaker of the National Assembly is required to call a joint sitting of both houses of Parliament not earlier than 7 days and not later than 14 days after receiving the approval of Parliament to hear charges.
The joint sitting would then amount to a jury on Mr. Musharraf’s tenure, according to Babar Sattar, a constitutional lawyer.
Many politicians and analysts said on Friday they hoped Mr. Musharraf would take the “graceful” way out and decide some time next week to step aside. “For the sake of all of us, please maintain your dignity and go quietly,” a daily newspaper, The News, said in an editorial Friday.
But Mr. Hussain, and even opponents of the president like Mr. Sattar, said they believed Mr. Musharraf would fight to the end. “He’s going to take this as a personal challenge that has to be fought,” Mr. Sattar said. More