Pakistani leader asks Pervez Musharraf to quit
A senior ruling coalition leader in Pakistan and an opponent of US-backed President Pervez Musharraf urged him on Sunday to step down immediately.
Shahbaz Sharif, the younger brother of former premier Nawaz Sharif, repeated his demand that Musharraf resign after being elected chief minister for the second time of the country's most populated province, Punjab.
The Sharif brothers were ousted from power by Musharraf in a bloodless 1999 coup and sent to exile in Saudi Arabia.
"Please have mercy on the people of Pakistan and go home immediately after tendering your resignation," Shahbaz said in a speech to the Punjab legislature following his election.
"The people of Pakistan have given a mandate against Musharraf and his dictatorship on February 18," he said, referring to the general elections in which his party, along with that of slain ex-premier Benazir Bhutto, trounced Musharraf's allies.
"Musharraf's dictatorship is gasping for its last breaths," he said, as some in the legislature shouted, "Go Musharraf go!"
The ruling coalition is stepping up the pressure on Musharraf to quit. They are currently considering a constitution amendment package to limit his power.
Musharraf on Saturday rejected growing speculation that he was going to resign and denounced claims he was conspiring against the coalition government.
"I won't resign in the current situation," he told local television stations. "I will live and die here, there is no other way. I don't have any house outside Pakistan."
Musharraf said the rumours were hurting the country's economy and threatening foreign investment.