PTI : Musharraf to address nation, to make "important announcements"

Monday, August 18, 2008

Musharraf to address nation, to make "important announcements"

Press Trust of India | August 18, 2008

Islamabad, Aug 18 (PTI) Amid intense speculation that President Pervez Musharraf would step down before Pakistan's ruling coalition begins impeachment proceedings against him, the beleaguered ex-military ruler will address the nation this afternoon.

Musharraf, who held consultations with his legal and political advisors this morning, will address the nation at 1 pm, presidential spokesman Maj Gen (retired) Rashid Qureshi said. Other sources said Musharraf is expected to make "some important announcements" during his speech.

Reports for the past few days, have suggested that the increasingly isolated Musharraf will step down before the PPP-led coalition launches the impeachment process against him in the parliament this week.

The coalition has finalised its draft impeachment motion and a chargesheet against Musharraf and documents are being vetted by the top leaders of the ruling alliance.

Several top leaders of the coalition, including PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, had asked Musharraf to quit or face impeachment.

However, presidential spokesman Qureshi had insisted that Musharraf would not quit. Musharraf's aides have held talks with the government over the past few days on giving him indemnity and safe passage in the event of his resignation.

Foreign interlocutors, including British diplomat Mark Lyall Grant and Saudi intelligence chief Prince Muqrin bin Abdul-Aziz, have visited Islamabad and held talks with Musharraf and the ruling coalition to find a way out of the political impasse.

It is still not clear whether Musharraf intends to remain in Pakistan after his possible resignation. Sources said while the PPP is amenable to him leaving the country following his resignation, the PML-N and its chief Nawaz Sharif are opposed to the idea.