Islamabad, Aug 7 : Even as the PPP-PML(N) coalition government has decided to bring an Impeachment Motion against Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf on Monday (Aug 11), the first ever in the political history of Pakistan, political pundits and legal experts in Islamabad suggest that the next three days will witness hectic politics.
Legal experts believe that the impeachment process will prove to be a 'unique learning experience' for parliamentarians and constitutional experts alike, as it would be an unprecedented incident in Pakistan's history.
"It will be interesting ... if initiated, the process would give rise to many questions because there is no precedent for impeaching the president in Pakistan," the Dawn quoted an eminent constitutional expert as saying on the condition of anonymity.
He said that once the charges had been framed, the President would be provided an opportunity to defend his actions -- by either personally appearing before a joint parliamentary session or nominating someone to appear on his behalf.
According to him, the absence of a judicial precedent could impede the President's ability to nominate a lawyer or someone from outside parliament to defend himself, like former US president Bill Clinton. The process, he added, could take months as the parliament would thoroughly discuss the allegations, or it could empower some other institution to conduct the inquiry.
Disputing this point of view, another unidentified legal expert said that during the joint sitting, parliamentarians could do nothing more than speaking out in favour of the process. According to him, the President could be removed from office only if a two-thirds majority in parliament voted in favour of the impeachment motion.
He said there were three grounds for the President to be impeached - misconduct, incapacitation or violation of the Constitution. According to Article 47, which deals with the removal or the impeachment of the President: "The President may be removed from office on the ground of physical or mental incapacity or impeachment on a charge of violating the Constitution or gross misconduct."
"Not less than one-half of the total membership of either house may give to the speaker of the National Assembly or ... the chairman (of the Senate) written notice of its intention to move a resolution for the removal of, or ... to impeach, the president, and such notice shall set out the particulars of his incapacity or the charge against him. If (such) a notice ... is received by the chairman, he shall transmit it forthwith to the speaker," it says further.
Dr Sher Afgan, a former parliamentary affairs minister, said that in the absence of a precedent, rules for the joint sitting of parliament were sufficient for the President's impeachment. However, he said, the coalition partners would "never succeed" because they are not serious and there are differences among them.