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Pak ruling coalition claims victory as Mush bows out

Pakistan's triumphant ruling coalition termed Musharraf's decision to resign "a victory for democratic forces" as impromptu celebrations by workers of PPP and PML(N) erupted across the country.

world Updated: Aug 18, 2008 15:59 IST

Pakistan's triumphant ruling coalition on Monday termed President Pervez Musharraf's decision to resign "a victory for democratic forces" as impromptu celebrations by workers of PPP and PML(N) erupted across the country.

"The biggest hurdle in the way of democracy has been removed," Pakistan People's Party chief Bilawal Bhutto told reporters shortly after the 65-year-old President decided to bow out rather than face a humiliating impeachment motion against him by the ruling coalition.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said "it's a realistic decision (in view of) the way things were unfolding."

Qureshi said the "democratic leadership of the coalition" will decide on whether to grant a safe exit to Musharraf. "I am sure they would assess the speech, the consequences and repercussions, and they would also keep in mind the political developments in the country and reach a decision," he said.

The PPP-led coalition had been tightening the noose around Musharraf, threatening to table a chargesheet against him in Parliament tomorrow.

Hundreds of PPP workers burst into celebrations outside the home of party co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari on hearing of the President's decision to step down.

The workers distributed sweets and shouted slogans hailing slain party chairperson Benazir Bhutto and her widower Zardari.

PPP leader Farzana Raja said it was "a victory for the democratic forces and ideals of the party that Musharraf had been made to step down in a constitutional manner".