White House still sympathetic to Musharraf', US Congress might not be: Experts

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Washington/Islamabad, Aug.9 : An expert on South Asian affairs has said that while the White House continues to show "tremendous sympathy" for President Pervez Musharraf, the feeling in the U.S. Congress might not be the same.

According to Bruce Riedel of the Brookings Institution, Musharraf is no longer being seen as "indispensable" either for the war on terror or Pakistan's role in the war on terror.

"I think that Pakistan needs now to focus on the very many different difficulties it faces and the best way to speed that process and remove the uncertainty would be for Musharraf to make a graceful exit," the Daily Times quoted Riedel as telling a foreign news agency in an interview.

Lisa Curtis of the Heritage Foundation, who is also a well known expert on South Asian affairs felt that Musharraf's "fate" now lies largely in the hands of Pakistan's Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.

Meanwhile, President Musharraf is expected to move the Supreme Court to counter efforts by the four-party coalition to impeach him, the Daily Times quoted sources as saying on Friday.

A source close to the president's top legal aide, Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada, told Daily Times that the veteran lawyer had had several meetings with Musharraf.

He also confirmed that a petition to challenge the impeachment move was being drafted, adding that the petition would be filed with the apex court at an "appropriate time".

Aides believe that charges levelled against Musharraf are not likely to lead to a successful impeachment motion, and therefore, stood a good chance of being challenged before the court.

According to Geo News, lawyers have told Musharraf that the Supreme Court has already validated Musharraf's November 3, 2007 actions and the other grounds stipulated by the Article 47 of the Constitution are not applicable in the present circumstances.

Musharraf has reportedly said that a policy of confrontation would harm democratic process in the country.

Officials said parliament could begin the impeachment process as early as Monday, which is also Musharraf's 65th birthday.

A presidential aide said that Musharraf would "not wait for the numbers game" - meaning that he would not indulge in political horse-trading to stop the coalition getting the votes it needs.

ANI

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