Lahore, Aug.9 : Pakistan's Army will not support President Pervez Musharraf should he decide to dissolve Parliament using Article 58(2b) of the Constitution, the country's former Railway Minister and now Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid has said.
Geo News and the Daily Times quoted Rashid as saying that the ruling Pakistan People's Party (PPP) - Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) coalition would win the numbers game inside Parliament.
In that case, Musharraf would be left with three options - to face impeachment, use Article 58(2b) or resign.
He predicted that Pakistan was heading into a major political crisis and added that it would be better for Musharraf to exit gracefully rather than be forced to do so.
Rashid's comments come even as constitutional experts in the country have said that the Pakistan Supreme Court can issue an injunction to stay the impeachment process.
Former Lahore High Court Bar Association president Ahmed Awais said that an injunction could provide a way for Musharraf to prolong the issue. Senior constitutional expert S M Zafar said that normally the apex court would not interfere in matters of the parliament, but could take up the impeachment issue if allegations in the charge sheet against the President attract the court's attention.
Musharraf on the other hand has reportedly said that he won't resign from the Presidency in the event of impeachment motion being brought against him, and warned that he would contest every charge levelled against him by the government.
He has been holding consultations with his legal aides and has made important telephone calls to his allies to foil the impeachment bid.
Sources privy to developments at the Presidency said Musharraf has met legal guru Sharifuddin Pirzada to explore all constitutional and legal ways to avoid the impeachment. Options discussed include the use of Article 58 (2b) of the Constitution, promulgation of a state of emergency, or facing the impeachment motion in parliament, the Daily Times said.
Sources have said that Musharraf is not interested in discussing the option of resigning from office and wants to defeat the impeachment motion.
Rashid's statement on Friday does come as a surprise in that he was one of the key allies contacted by Musharraf over the last few days for advice on what steps the latter should take to defeat the impeachment motion.