Still not clear whether Nawaz-Zardari will be finally able to impeach Musharraf: Paper

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Islamabad, Aug 7 : Amid fresh reports emerging from Islamabad that PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif and PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari have made up their mind to impeach President Pervez Musharraf, it is being calculated how the process (of Musharaf's impeachment) would be actually carried out.

Several equations between the political parties, including Opposition and Ruling, are being speculated upon and permutations and combinations inside the National Assembly are being drawn up to see whether the Government has the numbers, or not, to fulfil its wish.

While some advocate that the impeachment process can go ahead, some point to the difficulties of preparing a charge-sheet (against Musharraf) according to the Constitution which pins the parliament down to one or all of the following three presidential culpabilities: 1) unfitness to hold the office due to incapacity, 2) guilt of violating the Constitution, 3) gross misconduct.

The partisans of this view hold that the President's actions violating the Constitution in 1999 and 2007 through military rule were validated by the Supreme Court; therefore, the charge sheet will be seriously challenged, said an editorial in the Daily Times.

According to the paper, the question of numbers has never been very clear, as it added, the PPP had itself earlier declared on a number of occasions that the coalition did not have the two-thirds vote required for impeachment in a joint parliamentary session. Also, the PMLQ and the MQM cannot be expected to support the move and their position will not change visibly in the interim, though rumours have been afoot about the development of overt and covert "forward blocs" within the PMLQ, and that the PMLN has been quietly encouraging them.

"Therefore, if the PMLQ can be broken, and if the ANP and JUIF persuaded to go along, then the numbers may not be out of range. But these are two big ifs," said the editorial.

But, there are other issues that are less clear. Like, does the PPP really want the quick exit of Musharraf even if it leads to a stampede of the PMLQ into the arms of the PMLN and weakens the balance of power between the PMLN and PPP? How will the SC packed with Musharraf loyalists react to the impeachment when it knows that it will be on the hit list of the PMLN next? Will the president sit back and let the PPP-PMLN grab the MNAs and Senators or will he throw the ISI and MI into the game and thwart them by wooing the ANP and JUIF?

The editorial further stated -- Let us be clear about how the forces are stacked at the moment before we jump to any conclusions. The PMLN and President Musharraf are true foes in the sense that they can't share power under any circumstances. The PPP is in the middle, it wants the president to go but it doesn't want the PMLN to gain advantage out of it, and thus far it has been trying to survive by balancing one off against the other.

Adducing meaning out of Musharraf's China visit, the paper said: If President Musharraf cancels his China visit, it will mean he takes this threat seriously and is going to quickly rally his forces. If he shrugs and goes to China, it will mean he isn't worried.

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