Pakistan ruling coalition begins Musharraf impeachment

August 11th, 2008 - 11:52 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Pervez Musharraf
By Muhammad Najeeb
Islamabad, Aug 11 (IANS) The ruling coalition Monday began the process to impeach President Pervez Musharraf by charging him with abrogating the constitution, dismissing an elected government and damaging the country’s reputation by handing over Pakistani citizens to the United States. The National Assembly or the lower house of parliament discussed Musharraf’s role, with many legislators suggesting that he resign before the impeachment takes place even as a committee consisting of members of the ruling coalition continued with preparation of a charge-sheet against Musharraf. It is likely to be finalized Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the provincial assembly in Punjab passed a resolution asking Musharraf to seek a vote of trust in parliament, failing which he could be impeached. In the house of 372 members, 321 voted in favour of the resolution while 25 rejected the move saying it can further destabilize the country.

The other three provincial assemblies in the North West Frontier Province, Balochistan and Sindh are also scheduled to pass similar resolutions within this week.

President Musharraf, who was elected by the national and provincial parliaments, had promised before the Supreme Court after his controversial elections in October last year that he would take a vote of confidence from the national and provincial assemblies.

“We call upon the president to seek a vote of confidence from the Punjab Assembly as a majority of the members think he has lost the confidence of the house that had elected him,” said the resolution.

In Islamabad, a joint meeting of the ruling coalition parties decided to continue the National Assembly session until the president resigns or the impeachment motion is passed at the joint sitting of both houses of parliament.

The parties - Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Awami National Party (ANP) and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam - asked all members to ensure their presence in the federal capital as important developments were taking place.

However, Musharraf loyalists who met him Monday said that he is firm on fighting the impeachment move and would prove before the nation that the allegations levelled by the ruling parties are baseless.

US Ambassador Nancy W. Peterson also called on President Musharraf, a move viewed as significant in political circles as she has recently returned from Washington after holding crucial consultations and briefings there.

“She (the US ambassador) has delivered an important message from Washington to the president,” a source told IANS.

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