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Musharraf vows to expose coalition

Besieged Pak president threatens to "expose the failures" of the ruling coalition as a 2nd provincial Assembly adopts a resolution asking him to seek a confidence vote.

world Updated: Aug 12, 2008 22:53 IST

Besieged President Pervez Musharraf has threatened to "expose the failures" of the ruling coalition as a second provincial Assembly on Tuesday adopted a resolution asking him to seek a confidence vote in Parliament which will take up impeachment motion againt him next week.


The "best option" for Musharraf, who is gradually being deserted by his allies in the face of the most serious threat to his nine-year reign, is to resign, said Ishaq Dar, leader of Nawaz Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League (N).


Showing no signs of relenting, Musharraf said he has "sufficient official records to expose the failures" of the ruling coalition and accused Sharif of carrying out "personal vendetta" against him.


Musharraf also dismissed as rubbish allegations of misappropriation of millions of dollars of US anti-terror aid levelled against him by PPP chief Asif Ali Zardari, saying that pocketing foreign aid by an individual is not possible.


Brushing aside Musharraf's vow to fight it out in Parliament, ruling Pakistan People's Party leader and Information Minister Sherry Rehman said there will be "no defence" in front of the "powerful chargesheet" being prepared by the coalition for Musharraf against whom the impeachment motion will be moved next week in the national Assembly.


Adopting a resolution by an overwhelming majority, the 127-strong North West Frontier Province Assembly said Musharraf should resign if he fails to take a confidence vote or else the 64-year-old former general should be impeached.


A similar resolution was passed by the powerful Punjab Provincial Assembly on Monday. The Assemblies of Sindh and Balochistan are expected to approve similar resolutions in coming days. Speaking after a meeting of the committee of PPP and PML-N leaders that is framing the impeachment motion and chargesheet against Musharraf, Rehman said a "tidal wave" had been set in motion against Musharraf with two provincial Assemblies passing resolutions asking him to seek a vote of confidence in Parliament.


"When the day comes next week, when we move our resolution for the joint (sitting of the National Assembly and Senate), we will have much more (votes) than we need (to impeach the President)," she told reporters.


The statement came as PPP-Sherpao, the ruling PPP's breakaway faction that supported Musharraf over the past five years, became the latest group to distance itself from the President.


"The PML-N's Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and Pakistan People's Party's Khurshid Shah requested us to support the ruling coalition regarding the impeachment," PPP-S parliamentary leader Sikandar Sherpao said.


Musharraf's main ally PML(Q) is also facing imminent split with its MP Sardar Bahadur Khan Sihar, advising the president to gracefully quit and claiming to have "support" of a dozen MPs and a couple of senators.


Four independent senators from Federally Administered Tribal Areas have also asked Musharraf to quit and pledged to support the impeachment motion.


Referring to the charges being framed against Musharraf, Rehman said: "This is a powerful chargesheet that cannot be challenged by anyone and there will be no defence in front of it."


PML-N leader Dar, also a member of the committee drafting the impeachment motion, said the coalition has "much more than" the 295 votes needed in a joint sitting of parliament to impeach the president.


"The concerned parties should understand the situation and not waste the time of the nation. The impeachment process can be avoided if Gen Musharraf resigns - I believe that is the best."


Though Rehman refused to give details about the chargesheet, other PPP and PML-N leaders have said in the past few days that the charges to be brought against Musharraf include incompetence, violating and subverting the constitution, financial irregularities and pursuing policies that have brought Pakistan to the brink of an economic crisis.


Rehman said Musharraf's supporters had turned against him as was reflected by the voting on the resolution passed today by the North West Frontier Province assembly.


"There were 107 votes against Musharraf and only four for him. Even the PPP-Sherpao, which earlier supported Musharraf, voted against him," she said.


"This whole exercise is an exercise for a real transition to democracy," she said, adding that all democratic forces were together and voting for the return to democracy. "Nobody wants to be remembered on the wrong side of history in this historic and critical juncture in Pakistan's political life," she remarked.


The ruling coalition had been contacted by opposition PML-Q members and independents who wanted to support the impeachment motion.


Once the process of the four provincial Assemblies passing resolutions asking the president to seek a vote of confidence is completed, the impeachment motion will be moved in the national Assembly, she said.


PPP leader Raza Rabbani, also a member of the panel drafting the chargesheet, said the impeachment motion can't be challenged in any forum.


Musharraf, meanwhile, met PML(Q) leaders for the third time in four days and told them that he has "sufficient official records" to "expose the failures" of the ruling coalition and, the Dawn daily reported.


Presidential spokesman Rashid Qureshi said in a statement that Musharraf did not want to respond to "wild allegations" being levelled against him through the media and would defend himself after receiving the chargesheet being framed by the ruling coalition.