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Stage set for Musharraf's ouster

world Updated: Aug 11, 2008 12:20 IST
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Pakistan's lower house of Parliament was set to convene on Monday as the ruling coalition geared up to impeach President Pervez Musharraf.

Also on Monday, provincial legislatures were to begin tabling resolutions calling on Musharraf to step down or face impeachment. On Sunday, a spokesman for the president said Musharraf had a "clean track record" and will not resign.

Musharraf seized power in a bloodless coup in 1999. But his foes swept elections in February to set up a new government and push the former army chief to the sidelines, just four months after he won a new five-year term in a controversial vote by the previous Parliament.

The coalition announced its impeachment plans last week and said it is preparing a "charge sheet" with allegations against Musharraf including violation of the constitution, economic mismanagement and political manipulation.

Ahsan Iqbal, spokesman for the second-largest coalition party, said the impeachment motion will be filed after the provincial assemblies have passed their resolutions, which could continue into next week.

No president has been impeached in Pakistan's turbulent 61-year history. The coalition claims it can get the two-thirds majority required in a joint sitting of both houses in parliament to strip Musharraf of the presidency.

Although Musharraf's allies dispute that and have urged the longtime US ally to fight impeachment, they have advised the president against using his authority to dismiss Parliament and the prime minister.

Such moves would be contentious and require support from the army, which has indicated it wants to stay out of politics.