Pakistan’s ruling coalition to impeach Musharraf (Second lead)

August 7th, 2008 - 6:51 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Pervez Musharraf
Islamabad, Aug 7 (DPA) Pakistan’s ruling coalition has decided to table a motion in the parliament to impeach embattled President Pervez Musharraf next week, a cabinet minister said Thursday, a move that could send the country into yet another political crisis. “We have prepared the draft of the impeachment motion and after a final approval by the coalition leaders it will be made public later in the day,” Information Minister Sherry Rehman said after a meeting to draft the motion.

She said the coalition had made a formal request to convene the national assembly session on Aug 11 to table the motion.

The consensus on Musharraf’s trial was reached early Thursday after marathon consultations over the last couple of days by Asif Ali Zardari, head of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) said a joint statement to be issued Thursday afternoon would bring “good news” to the nation.

The Dawn News channel reported that the coalition had also decided to restore more than 60 judges sacked by the retired general under last year’s emergency.

The proclamation of the emergency rule Nov 3, as the Supreme Court was set to rule on Musharraf’s controversial presidential re-election, turned the tables for the PPP and PML-N, whose candidates routed the political allies of the president in the Feb 18 general election.

Both parties formed a coalition government but Sharif withdrew his cabinet members in May after the partners failed to honour a revised deadline to restore the judges, including the deposed chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry.

The PML-N chief refused to budge on the reinstatement issue and also called for charging Musharraf with treason, but Zardari was reluctant to have a showdown with the former army commander, who came to power after ousting Sharif 1999 in a bloodless coup.

In an early sign of panic, Musharraf Wednesday morning cancelled his visit of China to attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics but later in the evening restored it.

The president’s rescheduled departure was once again postponed Thursday morning and a close aide said on condition of anonymity that the final decision about the trip would be taken after the release of the ruling coalition’s joint statement.

The political uncertainty had also jolted the country’s stocks which plummeted 3.6 percent Wednesday and the downward trend continued when the stock market opened Thursday.

The commentators have said if pushed to the wall Musharraf might strike back with dissolution of the government and the parliament.

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