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Musharraf says will not step down

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has made it clear that he would not quit as he was constitutionally elected with a heavy mandate.

world Updated: Aug 15, 2008 19:29 IST

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf on Friday rejected reports that he would step down before the launch of impeachment proceedings against him, saying he was prepared to face the motion in parliament in a "democratic spirit".

During a meeting with his allies in the opposition PML-Q, Musharraf made it clear that he would not quit as he had been constitutionally elected with a heavy mandate. He also said there was "no reason for him to step down".

The statement came amid reports that Pakistan's ruling coalition is considering the possibility of giving the former military ruler "safe passage" if he resigns.

PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and his cousin Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, leader of opposition in the National Assembly, met Musharraf in his camp office in Rawalpindi to discuss the prevailing political situation, particularly the move to impeach the President.

Hussain and Elahi were quoted by TV channels as saying that Musharraf had told them he would not resign.

Musharraf also said that if an impeachment motion is moved against him in the parliament, he will face it in a "democratic spirit and in accordance with the constitution".

The beleaguered President also made it clear that he had no intention of using his powers to dissolve parliament.

The former military ruler also lashed out at ex-premier and PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, saying he was "bent on destabilising the system, democracy and the country" and also told Hussain and Elahi that Sharif's "intentions will fail".

Speaking in Lahore on Thursday , Sharif, who was deposed as premier by Musharraf in a bloodless military coup in 1999, had said the President should not be given a safe exit if he resigned.

The PML-Q leaders briefed Musharraf on the current situation and assured him of their party's full support in countering any impeachment motion in parliament.