Washington, Aug.14 : Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has reportedly been told by the Bush Administration to step down voluntarily rather than prolong an ongoing political crisis and face impeachment.
CBS News quoted high-ranking Pakistani government officials and Western diplomats as saying that American officials have told Musharraf that it is in the best interests of Pakistan to step down from office.
Speaking to CBS News on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the information, the Pakistani official said the U.S. was keen to see an orderly transition of power, presenting Washington with the opportunity to build close ties with Musharraf's successor.
The Bush administration's interest in maintaining close relations with Pakistan is built around the desire to carry forward cooperation in the war against Islamic extremism.
Pakistan, under Musharraf's leadership, has deployed as many as 150,000 military and paramilitary soldiers along its border with Afghanistan in support of the U.S. and NATO led military operations in that country.
The president has worked closely with the Bush administration since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, which prompted President Bush to invade Afghanistan and topple the Taliban government.
The attacks also prompted Pakistan to turn its back on Afghanistan's deposed, hard-line Islamic rulers and become a U.S. ally.
However, Western diplomats say the latest onslaught by ruling politicians seeking Musharraf's impeachment has presented the president with an insurmountable political challenge.
The ruling party in the new coalition says it has the support of more than two-thirds of Pakistan's parliament - enough to make the impeachment move successful if it were to come to a vote.