Pak Army will ask Musharraf to resign within a week, says government official

August 9th, 2008 - 10:34 am ICT by ANI  

Pervez Musharraf

Islamabad, Aug.9 (ANI): Pakistan’’s Chief of Army Staff, General Asfaq Parvez Kiyani will ask President Pervez Musharraf to resign within a week, The Telegraph has quoted a senior government official, as saying.
This claim has been supported by a former military aide to the president who said that the army’’s leadership wished Musharraf to be spared the humiliation of impeachment.
The unnamed official claimed that the army has “whispered in Musharraf’’s ear that it is time to leave”.
“Over the next few days they will make it clear to him [Musharraf] that a protracted battle [against impeachment] is not in Pakistan’’s interests,” he added.
The official said that the ruling Pakistan People’’s Party (PPP) has given an assurance of “indemnity” to the president.
He said that the PPP had instigated the process for impeachment because Musharraf, a key ally in the US-led war on terror, had begun to use intelligence agencies to plot against the government.
He also alleged that Musharraf had tried to use a former PPP leader, Amin Fahim, to “instigate a rebellion within the party”.
“Washington was still hoping that the PPP would work with Musharraf, but he was not working with us. America wants Pakistan to be effectively governed and so has realized that the domestic struggle has to be resolved”, the paper quoted the official, as saying.
The former military aide to Musharraf said: “The army is neutral but is expecting him to resign. It will then influence his honorable safe passage as the army’’s senior leadership would not want him to be punished”.
The twin arbiters of power in Pakistan, the army chief of staff, Gen Ashfaq Kiyani, and America, which has provided dollars 12 billion in military aid to the country in the last six years, have publicly declared themselves to be neutral on Pakistan’’s domestic politics.
The coalition is currently several seats short of the 295 votes it requires out of the 439 in the Senate and National Assembly to remove Musharraf.
Zardari’’s Pakistan People’’s Party and Sharif’’s Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz, together with smaller coalition partners, have 266 seats and need a further 29 MPs on side, likely to be from the troubled tribal belt bordering Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz said on Friday that it is rejoining the Cabinet, a gesture of solidarity now that the coalition partners have agreed to seek Musharraf’’s impeachment.
A poll by the International Republican Institute in June showed that 85 percent of Pakistanis believed that the president should resign. (ANI)

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