Musharraf demits office after nine years as president (Lead)

August 18th, 2008 - 3:47 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Pervez Musharraf

Islamabad, Aug 18 (IANS) Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf Monday announced his resignation from office during a televised address to the nation, ending an era in Pakistani politics that started almost nine years ago when he toppled the Nawaz Sharif government in October 1999. As the ruling coalition prepared to impeach him after resolutions in the provincial assemblies seeking his removal, Musharraf spoke to the nation directly over television and radio for about an hour.

In his address, he counted his government’s successes in the last nine years saying he took over when the country was about to be declared a terrorist state and financially a failed state.

“I worked my level best to bring the country at par with the top developing nations,” he said.

Saying that Pakistan was seen as a “terrorist state” and a “failed state” when he took over power in 1999, Musharraf added: “I have faced these challenges for nine years”.

For the first half hour of Musharraf’s speech, as he listed the achievements of the government he had led for nearly nine years, there was no indication that he was about to resign.

Musharraf repeatedly said the charges brought against him by politicians were false and none of them could be proven. “What ever I have done, it has been according to my slogan ‘Pakistan First’,” he said.

But towards the end of his speech, Musharraf said: “I am resigning for the sake of the country and the people”. His resignation letter would be sent to the speaker of the National Assembly by the end of Monday, he added.

The resignation announcement led to jubilation among supporters of the Pakistan Peoples Party who had gathered outside the home of Asif Alai Zardari to watch Musharraf’s speech on television. The Karachi stock exchange also leapt up over 400 points almost as soon as the announcement was made.

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