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Draft of Impeachment Charges Against Pakistani President Finalized

By VOA News
16 August 2008

Members of Pakistan's ruling coalition say they have finalized a draft of impeachment charges against embattled President Pervez Musharraf.

A drafting committee Saturday said the charges range from violating the constitution to misconduct. They have been given to coalition officials for scrutiny before being filed by Tuesday of next week.

Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi Saturday called on President Musharraf to make up his mind on whether to resign or not. Qureshi said if the president does not step down in the next two days, the impeachment process will begin.

On Friday, Mr. Musharraf's allies said talks were under way to reach an agreement that would allow him to resign without facing impeachment or criminal charges. But Mr. Musharraf's spokesman Rashid Qureshi said reports that the president will step down rather than face impeachment are baseless.

Pakistani media is reporting that Saudi Arabia's intelligence chief Muqrin bin Abdul Aziz has traveled to Pakistan to help mediate a deal between President Musharraf and the ruling coalition.

This week, Pakistan's four provincial legislatures voted in favor of a resolution calling on the president to seek a confidence vote in the national parliament. Mr. Musharraf is not required by the constitution to face such a vote.

Removing the president requires a two-thirds majority vote in both houses of Pakistan's parliament.

Mr. Musharraf seized power in a bloodless 1999 military coup. He ruled largely unchallenged for years, while enjoying U.S. support as a close ally in the fight against terrorism.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.



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