Pakistan's President Agrees to Resign
Democracy triumphs over dictatorship in Pakistan at last
By: Muhammad Aslam Khan (aslam)
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf agreed on Monday to resign from office to defuse political tensions, provided there are guarantees that he will not be persecuted in the courts, well-placed sources have revealed.
Musharraf informed Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani of his decision to resign in the larger national interest during a meeting at the Camp Office in the Army House that doubles as the official residence of the president, sources said.
"The president was responding to General Kayani's request to Musharraf to consider playing a statesmanlike role to resolve the political and constitutional crisis in the country," a well-placed source privy to the meeting revealed.
Sources said that Musharraf agreed to quit national politics in response to the growing calls for him to step down or face impeachment by the new parliament in the wake of the resounding drubbing to the Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain-led Pakistan Muslim League-Q, which is closely associated and with Musharraf.
According to sources, Musharraf has requested three face-saving measures:
(1) safe passage abroad with his mother Zarin, wife Sehba, daughter Ayla and son-in-law Asif Raza Mir (the former TV star who acted in Fatima Surraya Bajia's famous drama serial Tanhaiyan) to live with his Boston-based son Bilal Musharraf where he serves as an actuary accountant;
(2) guarantees that no judicial case will be filed against him in the courts and that the restored judiciary, particularly deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, will not hear any case against him; and
(3) a chance to address the nation one last time.
Sources further revealed that Musharraf was given three days to decide between resigning voluntarily and facing the ignominy of being asked by a majority National Assembly resolution in its first session next week to resign or face an act of impeachment.
"The establishment is not ready to have a former army chief impeached by parliament to prevent a precedent being set and thinks it is better to stave off the shame by avoiding it through a face-saving resignation," a source said.
The deposed chief justice, who is increasingly likely to be restored to his position along with the other 60 judges, will be requested not to pursue or entertain any petition that may be filed by any one before the rejuvenated Supreme Court or high courts to prevent a cycle of revenge and vendetta.
"Musharraf has also requested that, as part of the face-saving deal, he be allowed to make one last address to the nation, in which he wants to take the credit for free and fair elections," the source said. "However, it might be a recorded message rather than live and he will certainly not be allowed to cast a slur on any judge or political party."
While the source did not reveal what was the reaction of General Kayani to Musharraf's request for one last chance to address the nation as head of state, he said it was likely that it will be granted.
The source added that the army wants to avoid the likely raucous scenes of Musharraf's authority being heckled and booed in the first session of the National Assembly, particularly by the 70-plus members of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-N who plan to make fiery speeches against Musharraf amid slogans of "Go Musharraf Go."
Since Musharraf is likely to resign before the inaugural session is convened to swear in the newly elected MNAs and to elect the speaker and deputy speaker of the house, the session is likely to be smooth.
"With Musharraf having agreed to step down, either caretaker Prime Minister Mohammadmian Soomro will in the next two days be reverted to the position of chairman Senate or the acting chairman Senate will become acting president and take oath from the incoming prime minister and his cabinet of ministers," the source said.
"This is also likely to facilitate the Pakistan People's Party to convince the PML-N to nominate some ministers in the federal cabinet as Musharraf will no longer be president to take oath from them and there will be no excuse for Nawaz Sharif not to nominate ministers in the cabinet announced by Asif Zardari and the new prime minister," the source added.
The president's camp office issued a routine press release about the meeting between President Musharraf and General Kayani:
President Pervez Musharraf has lauded the professionalism, devotion to duty and sacrifices being rendered by Pakistan Army in safeguarding the country from external and internal threats.
The president made these remarks while talking to Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani who called on him at the presidential camp office in Rawalpindi today.
The president appreciated the role of the army for ensuring complete security during the recently concluded general elections in the country He also appreciated the measures which are being taken by the Pakistan Army in combating terrorism along the Pak-Afghan border region, in the FATA and Swat.
The general briefed the president about the ongoing operations against terrorism. They exchanged views on the internal security situation in the country, with particular reference to the role of Pakistan's army deployed on internal security duties.
Original Article: OhMyNews.Com
Also at: Indus Asia Online Journal