Monday, August 18, 2008


Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf resigned on Monday minutes after giving a speech to his country in which he outlined his achievements and flayed attempts to impeach him.

“In last nine years I have worked very hard and faced all challenges. I have withstood every challenge. We have seen growth in everything from GDP to foreign exchange reserve,” he said in his speech.

"I wanted to help the Government but they never listened to me. Now they want to impeach me. No charge will be proved against me. Impeachment will never be right for the country. Impeachment will be defeat to the country.”

"Keeping everything in mind, I have decided to resign. God was always kind (and) we faced every challenge. This day is important for me. I have to take an important decision.”

“I have fought two wars for Pakistan and still have enthusiasm for another.”

Speculation that the former army chief and US ally will resign had been mounting since the coalition government, led by the Pakistan People’s Party, said in August it planned to impeach him.

Prolonged jockeying and uncertainty over Musharraf's position has hurt Pakistan's financial markets and raised concern in Washington and among other allies it is distracting from efforts to control violent militants in the nuclear-armed nation.

The ruling coalition had prepared impeachment charges against Musharraf focusing on violation of the constitution and misconduct. Coalition officials had indicated that Musharraf could quit and avoid impeachment.

Coalition officials said last week Musharraf was ready to quit but was demanding immunity from prosecution. Musharraf seized power in a 1999 coup but has been isolated since his allies lost a February election.

All four provincial assemblies have passed resolutions in recent days pressing him to resign and several old allies have joined the campaign against him.

The political battling over Musharraf's fate has sapped investor confidence and there has been criticism it has taken government attention away from economic problems. Pakistani stocks are near two-year lows, while its currency has lost nearly a quarter of its value this year. Pakistan also faces major fiscal problems, with Saudi Arabia's help critical to defer an estimated $5.9 billion worth of oil payments.


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