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President Musharraf isolated

world Updated: Aug 14, 2008 01:32 IST
Kamal Siddiqi

With all provincial assemblies giving the green light for the impeachment of President Musharraf, strong rumours circulated in Islamabad that the president may quit on Thursday, Pakistan’s 61st independence day.

The 168-member Sindh provincial assembly overwhelmingly voted in favour of Musharraf’s impeachment on Wednesday as information minister Sherry Rehman said that a joint sitting of parliament would be requisitioned on Monday for the impeachment proceedings.

One of Musharraf’s devout allies, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), staged a walkout as the debate on the resolution started, leaving no one in the house to defend the beleaguered leader.

The Sindh assembly has around 69 pro-Musharraf members from the MQM and three other smaller parties. Similar resolutions were passed in the provincial assemblies of Punjab, Balochistan and the North West Frontier Province.

While his spokesman Rashid Qureshi has ruled out the possibility of Musharraf resigning and said he will face the impeachment motion in the National Assembly, his allies have hinted that he is ready to resign before the motion comes up next week amid reports that he may be offered a “safe passage”.

Musharraf has also discounted talk of resigning and has said that he will use constitutional methods at his disposal to check any move to remove him. Musharraf told reporters that he was proud of the work that he has done and is under no doubt about his government’s work.

Earlier, PPP chief Asif Ali Zardari declared that the Musharraf was a “guest for a few days” and was confident that army and the ISI will not interfere.