Pakistan: Judges may be reinstated after Musharraf exit

Karachi, 18 August(AKI) - By Syed Saleem Shahzad - Pakistan's deposed judges are expected to be reinstated soon following the shock resignation of President Pervez Musharraf.

Musharraf resigned in a televised address to the nation on Monday to avoid facing impeachment in the Parliament.

Muhammad Mian Soomro, current chairman of the Senate, will be Pakistan's interim president until the parliament elects a new president within 30 days.

Federal Minister for Law, Farooq H. Naik told Adnkronos International (AKI) that a decision on the restoration of the judges was expected as soon as late Monday.

The coalition government had previously pledged to restore the judges, sacked during the declaration of a state of emergency in November 2007, within 72 hours of the president's departure.

“Definitely the nation will hear good news today,” Farooq H. Naik told AKI.

Musharraf received a guard of honour before his departure on Monday. Soon after his resignation, the army moved to secure Army House, where Musharraf is living as ex-army chief.

Sources say the president, who seized power after ousting rival Nawaz Sharif from power in a coup in 1999, resigned after he was guaranteed a safe passage and the assurance that he could live in Pakistan in peace at his farm in Chak Shahzad in Islamabad.

"After consultations with my legal advisors, and close political supporters.....in the interests of the nation, I have decided to resign from my office," said Musharraf in a televised speech.

"I am leaving with the satisfaction that whatever I did for this country and the population, I did with honesty and commitment," he said.

"But I am also a human being. I might have made some mistakes, but I have hope that this nation and the population will tolerate those mistakes with the belief that my intentions were always clear and to the benefit of this country."

The former army chief also said that his opponents had made false accusations against him and rejected the impeachment charges, by saying: "No charge can be proved against me because I never did anything for myself, it was all for Pakistan."

On 7 August party leaders Asif Ali Zardari and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif formally announced their decision of a confidence vote or face impeachment at a media conference in Islamabad.

Zardari, who took control of the PPP after the assassination of his wife, former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, said that Musharraf had worked to "undermine democracy in Pakistan.

Reliable sources maintained that Musharraf stepped down after he was guaranteed a safe passage and an assurance that he could live in peace at his farm house in Chak Shahzad in Islamabad.

But many believe he will be forced to leave the country and perhaps seek asylum in Saudi Arabia, because he will not be allowed to remain in Pakistan.

“I don't think it will ever be possible,” said analyst Irfan Siddiqui.

“Tomorrow you will see those affected by the Red Mosque in Islamabad filing petition in the courts against Musharraf or those affected by the military operations in tribal areas and Balochistan approaching the courts.

"How long will any government be able to protect Musharraf," he asked rhetorically. "I think he will have to leave the country and seek asylum."

Within minutes of Musharraf's resignation, Pakistan's volatile stock market responded positively to the news and rose 400 points.

At the end of the day, Pakistani stocks jumped 4.5 percent with the benchmark Karachi Stock Exchange KSE-100 Index ending the day up 460.91 points to close at 10,719.62. The Pakistani rupee also surged against the US dollar.

“Musharraf’s resignation ended the atmosphere of uncertainty and that's why the stock market and the Pakistani rupees responded positively,” chairman of AKD securities, Akeel Karim Dhedi told Adnkronos International.

Musharraf, a former general, relinquished his army post in November last year, but his supporters were defeated by the opposition Pakistan People's Party and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League in parliamentary elections in February this year.

The two parties formed a coalition government led by the PPP's Yousuf Raza Gillani and an impeachment process was launched against Musharraf.


print          send



Contact us