Musharraf's aides say he has options available to avoid facing impeachment

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London, Aug 13 : Amid news reports that Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf might put in his papers today or tomorrow, his political aides have reportedly said that he might resort to other options available with him, like stepping down or bring about a defection in the PPP, in order to avoid facing impeachment.

Musharraf's supporters contend that the impeachment plan had been hatched to mask the civilian government's ineptitude in dealing with country's economic and social woes. According to them, the President may cite corruption in the government, and, if he has the support of the Army and the US, might risk provoking more popular unrest by re-imposing emergency rule as he did in 1999 after throwing out Nawaz Sharif-government.

PML-Q Vice-President Z.M. Zafar said that he hoped an "honourable exit" for the President, than him facing the coalition government's impeachment motion.

"If you ask will it not be good that if before impeachment an honourable exit should be worked out, my answer would be yes, it could be a good option," The Telegraph quoted him as saying.

Another PML-Q leader claimed, on the condition of anonymity, that at a select meeting of parliamentarians from the party's central working committee in Islamabad on Monday the party's co-leader Pervaiz Elahi emphatically stated that Musharraf would not face impeachment charges. "When he was asked how Musharraf would avoid the [impeachment] vote, he declined to reply," said the PML-Q official.

According to the PML-Q official, the stance "only leaves him the options of resigning or dissolving parliament or both".

Pakistan is waiting fingers-crossed to discover the fate of Musharraf, who has over the past few days said that he will defy pressure to step down and will face whatever charges are made against him. "I have not learnt fear," he was quoted as saying.

The ruling Pakistan People's Party (PPP) has said it hoped that Musharraf will resign to avoid the "humiliation of impeachment" before it presents a charge-sheet against him. The party and its coalition partner, the PML-N claimed that they have the required two-thirds majority to impeach the president.

Commentators have speculated that Musharraf may take the risky course of dissolving parliament and forging an alliance with a PPP splinter-faction headed by Amin Fahim.

ANI

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