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PPP, PML-N seek time to finalise charges

The joint committee has made progress on drafting an eight-point, 100-page chargesheet to impeach Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, but seeks more time for completing the job.

world Updated: Aug 11, 2008 13:56 IST


A joint committee of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has made progress on drafting an eight-point, 100-page chargesheet to impeach President Pervez Musharraf but has sought more time to complete the job.

The committee met on Sunday at the residence of Information Minister Sherry Rehman. Leader of the House in the Senate Raza Rabbani, Law Minister Farooq H Naek, Education Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Senator Ishaq Dar and PPP spokesperson Farhatullah Babar attended the meeting.

Quoting sources, The News said on Monday that in the eight-point agenda, Musharraf's coup against the elected government of prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Oct 12, 1999, the suspension of the constitution for the second time on Nov 3, 2007, and the sacking of the Supreme Court chief justice and other judges top the list.

The operation last year against fundamentalists holed up in the Lal Masjid in Islamabad, "weakening of the federation by launching a military operation in Balochistan, allowing foreign powers to intervene in the country's politics, the Abdul Qadeer Khan affair and Benazir Bhutto's assassination were also under consideration", the newspaper said.

In addition, parliamentarians from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) were demanding the inclusion of the military operation in the tribal areas as one of the charges against Musharraf.

According to sources, two parallel tasks were being carried out: the committee was preparing the chargesheet and another group was mounting pressure to force Musharraf to resign before the impeachment process.

"Sources said the pressure was being built through the provincial assemblies that will ask the president to get a vote of confidence from parliament and if he fails to do so, he should be prepared to face impeachment," The News said.

"Sources said in the final stage of pressure-building, the National Assembly would also adopt a resolution asking President Musharraf to seek a vote of confidence from the lower house of parliament and in case he fails, an impeachment process would be initiated against him.

"We are considering initiating the process of impeachment from Aug 17 to Aug 23," the sources quoted one of the drafting committee members as saying.

"We are in the process of drafting and it was a big task as all legal and constitutional violations committed by Pervez Musharraf would be the core of the chargesheet," Babar said.

Rehman said the meeting went very well and the chargesheet was strong as well as voluminous.

"It is a powerful indictment of General Musharraf's systematic misrule and usurpation of powers of parliament. Now public sentiment against him is so strong that even his own party has started saying that he should not use article 58 (of the constitution that gives him the power to dissolve parliament)," she added.

In a separate article, The News said on Monday that Western diplomats here had been told that Musharraf will be denied safe exit from the country if he doesn't quit ahead of the impeachment move against him in parliament.

The diplomats, who met PPP co-chair Asif Ali Zardari, were "clearly told" that if Musharraf didn't quit, "the government would not be in a position to provide him a safe exit and he may be placed on the Exit Control List (ECL)", the newspaper said.