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Pakistan's Ruling Coalition Says Impeachment Proceedings 'Imperative'


Pakistan's ruling coalition says it is "imperative" to pursue impeachment proceedings against President Pervez Musharraf, and it is demanding that the president face a confidence vote in parliament.

Speaking at a news conference in Islamabad Thursday, Pakistan People's Party leader Asif Ali Zardari said coalition leadership will immediately initiate impeachment proceedings.

A two-thirds majority in the upper and lower houses of parliament is required for impeachment.

The announcement comes after two days of talks between coalition party leaders Zardari and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of the Pakistan Muslim League-N party.

Zardari downplayed the possibility that Mr. Musharraf would dissolve the parliament, saying that democracy in Pakistan is too strong for such a move.

In related news, Pakistan's foreign ministry today said Mr. Musharraf will not go to China for the opening of the Olympic Games.

A ministry spokesman said Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani will go in his place.

This is the second time the country's foreign ministry has announced President Musharraf would be staying home.

The president had long been scheduled to attend the opening of the Olympic Games, but on Wednesday officials abruptly announced he had canceled the trip, before saying his departure had been delayed.

Mr. Musharraf declared a state of emergency last November and purged the Supreme Court in order to halt any legal challenges to his presidency.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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