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'Army to ask Prez to resign in a week'

world Updated: Aug 09, 2008 13:41 IST

PTI
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Pakistan's Army is to ask the country's embattled President Pervez Musharraf to relinquish office in a week's time as its top brass would not want him to be impeached, a news report said on Saturday.

Quoting a senior official from the ruling government coalition partner, the Pakistan's People's Party, 'The Daily Telegraph' said that Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Kiyani has already "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," the unnamed official claimed.

One of the main arbiters of power in Pakistan, the Army has already publicly declared that the military would take a "neutral" stand on the country's domestic politics.

"The Army is neutral but is expecting him to resign. It will then influence his honourable safe passage as the Army's senior leadership would not want him to be punished," a former military aide to the President told the British daily.

Pakistan's civilian government is likely to launch impeachment proceedings against 64-year-old Musharraf on Monday, accusing the President of "eroding" trust of the nation through his policies and actions.

"We have good news for democracy. The coalition believes it is imperative to move for impeachment against Musharraf. We will present a chargesheet against Musharraf," PPP Chairman Asif Ali Zardari had said on Thursday.

Even the United States, which has provided dollars 12 billion in military aid to the country in the last six years, has publicly declared itself to be neutral on Pakistan's domestic politics.

The senior official, who has top-level contacts with Washington, said that his party had instigated the impeachment because Musharraf, a key ally in the US-led war on terror, had begun to use intelligence agencies to plot against government.

"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 realised that the domestic struggle has to be resolved," he said.

However, he said that his party had given an assurance of "indemnity" to the President.