Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf has resigned. He was under pressure to step down before being impeached by Pakistan’s coalition government, which is led by the party of assassinated former prime minister Benazir Bhutto. The announcement came in a live TV address to the Pakistani people in which Musharaf defended his record and insisted the accusations against him were false.
Musharraf said: “After consultations with legal advisers and close political supporters and on their advice, I’m taking the decision of resigning.”
The coalition which forced him out is composed of the Pakistan Peoples Party, led by Asif Zardari, who is Benazir Bhutto’s widower, and the Pakistan Muslim League led by Nawaz Sharif, whom Musharraf ousted as prime minister in a coup.
Musharraf seized power 1999 when he was the head of Pakistan’s army but has been politically isolated since his allies lost a February election.
Last November he imposed emergency rule and it was that move which caused the coalition to start impeachment proceeding on charges, including gross misconduct and violation of the constitution.
The new president of the nuclear armed US ally will be elected within 30 days, for a five-year term, by an electoral college made up of members of both houses of parliament and Pakistan’s four provincial assemblies.