Pakistan’s ruling coalition on Thursday evening announced that it was moving to impeach President Pervez Musharraf as he did not enjoy the support or confidence of the parliament and his continuation in his position was untenable.
“This is good news for the future of democracy in Pakistan” said Asif Ali Zardari, chairman of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party, while addressing a crowded press conference in Islamabad after a three day meeting between coalition party leaders.
The three day consultations took place in Islamabad and Karachi. Zardari was flanked by Nawaz Sharif of the PML-N party and leaders of the Awami National Party and smaller parties as he started the press conference with a chant “Asalamo Alailkum Pakistan.”
Zardari announced that the process to start impeachment process will start by moving a resolution in the provincial assemblies shortly. He said that this will proceed to the National Assembly (Parliament) as President Musharraf had not stood by the commitments he made when he was re-elected as president in 2007.
“President Musharraf did not seek a vote of confidence from the incoming parliament as he had committed at the time of his re-election, he did not address parliament as required of the president and he had said that he would resign if those he did not agree with were elected to power but did not do so,” said Zardari.
The PPP chairman said that it has also been decided to restore judges sacked through extra-constitutional means by President Musharraf as agreed in the Murree declaration. He said that the restoration would come after the impeachment of the President.
Zardari said that the parliament would now move to repeal the 17th amendment under which a president can sack an elected government, would restore the two-tier parliamentary system and reinstate judges sacked unconstitutionally.
In the joint press briefing, Nawaz Sharif said that it would be unwise of President Musharraf to invoke Article 58-2-B and sack the elected government prior to his being impeached. “This is not the situation that was prevailing in the past decade. We have a free media and a free society and we will fight any such move,” he said.
25 militants killed in clashes
At least 25 pro-Taliban militants and two Pakistani soldiers were killed in fierce clashes in Khar, a tribal region along the Afghan border, government officials said on Thursday.