President Pervez Musharraf was on Monday virtually forced out of power, resigning in the face of imminent impeachment to bring to an end nine turbulent years at the helm amidst speculation that he may be exiled to Saudi Arabia.
A stony-faced Musharraf made a rambling hour-long televised address to the nation defending his record but announced that he had decided to resign "in the interest of the country", setting off celebrations across the country.
His characteristic bluster missing, a taut and emotion-charged former army chief, who seized power in 1999 months after leading the Pakistani army in the disastrous Kargil war, stepped down after declaring that "this is not not the time for individual bravado".
In the backdrop of persisting reports over the last few days that the US, Britain and Saudi Arabia were negotiating with the PPP-led government for Musharraf's "safe exit", speculation continued that he may leave the country to live in Jeddah or in Turkey but there was no no confirmation from his side or from the ruling coalition.
Twice during his reign, Musharraf brought Pakistan to the brink of a war with India, the first when he organised the invasion of Kargil and after the Pakistan-supported attack on Indian Parliament in 2001. But he also cooperated in ensuring relative peace along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir during the last five years.
Yet, he made no no mention of India or Jammu and Kashmir during his farewell address. Ironically, the separatists in Kashmir welcomed his political demise.