Opponents of Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf are continuing to
plot a strategy to unseat the unpopular leader that they say will
unfold in the coming weeks. Following last week's impeachment threat
from the country's ruling parties, lawmakers are preparing a series of
legislative actions aimed at publicly undermining the president. VOA's
Barry Newhouse reports from the Pakistani capital.
Pakistan's two major political parties, the Pakistan People's Party and
the Pakistan Muslim League-N party say they are working on a
so-called "charge sheet" outlining a series of impeachable offenses
allegedly committed by the president during his nearly nine years as
leader of Pakistan.
But before beginning formal impeachment
proceedings, Pakistan People's Party spokeswoman Sherry Rehman says the
country's four provincial assemblies will pass measures calling for the
president to take a vote of confidence.
"We are giving space
and time to the provinces first. The provincial assemblies are moving
their own resolutions, we must give them that time, they must occupy
that space today," said Rehman.
There is no constitutional
measure requiring Mr. Musharraf to take a vote of confidence from the
provincial assemblies and parliament, which would almost certainly
oppose him with substantial majorities. But analysts say publicly
demanding the president take such a vote would further undermine his
already weakened political power and strengthen the impeachment
movement in Pakistan's parliament.
Pakistan Muslim League-N
party spokesman Siddiq-ul Farooq says party leaders ultimately hope the
building confrontation will not lead to impeachment.
the leadership wants that instead of being impeached by the parliament,
if he himself resigns then that will be comparatively advisable for
him," he said.
Mr. Musharraf has proven himself to be a savvy
political survivor during his long tenure as ruler and has rarely
backed away from political confrontations. But with Pakistan's
military giving no indication that it will intervene in the political
standoff, and the president's own political party severely weakened in
February polls, analysts say the president has few options.
commentator Nasim Zahra says resignation may be preferable to facing
public impeachment proceedings that are likely to cover a long list of
allegations during Mr. Musharraf's tenure. She said Mr. Musharraf may
not want to drag the country through what she called a "messy affair."
can be long and drawn out - it can lead to confrontations within the
political arena that I do not think Pakistan can afford. I think that
it can also raise issues that are best not discussed in the political
arena - I think it would be very hard to have a smooth process of
impeachment," said Zahra.
Impeaching President Musharraf would
require 295 of the 442 seats in a joint session of Pakistan's
parliament. The president's political opponents boasted Monday they
have more than 340 lawmakers pledging to vote for the measure.