Per France 24:
Amid calls for his impeachment, Pervez Musharraf resigned as president of Pakistan in a televised address to the nation.
From France 24/Reuters:
ISLAMABAD – Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf, under pressure to step down before he is impeached, will address the nation at 1 p.m. (0700 GMT) on Monday, an official in the president’s office told Reuters.
Speculation the former army chief and firm U.S. ally will resign has been mounting since the coalition government, led by the party of assassinated former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, said this month it planned to impeach him.
Prolonged jockeying and uncertainty over Musharraf’s position has hurt Pakistan’s financial markets and raised concern in Washington and among other allies it is distracting from efforts to control violent militants in the nuclear-armed nation.
The official in the president’s office gave no details of the president’s address, but the president’s chief spokesman, retired Major General Rashid Qureshi, was quoted separately as again denying Musharraf would resign or leave the country.
“President Musharraf is not going to Saudi Arabia or any other country and he will fight impeachment constitutionally,” Dawn Television cited Qureshi as saying.
The ruling coalition has prepared impeachment charges against Musharraf focusing on violation of the constitution and misconduct.
Coalition officials have been hoping Musharraf would quit to avoid impeachment while some allies have said he should at least answer charges brought against him before stepping down.
Siddiq-ul-Farooq, a spokesman for the coalition party of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, said: “He is most likely going to resign. He may get safe passage … He’s been trying to get safe passage for the past two months.”
STATEMENT FROM JOHN MCCAIN:
ARLINGTON, VA — Today, U.S. Senator John McCain issued the following statement on the resignation of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf:
The resignation of President Pervez Musharraf is a step toward moving Pakistan onto a more stable political footing. Pakistan is a critical theater in countering the threat of al Qaeda and violent Islamic extremism, and I look forward to the government increasing its future cooperation.
There are serious problems that must be addressed. The situation in Pakistan’s frontier regions requires immediate and continued attention, and I hope that the elections for President Musharraf’s successor will serve to reconcile the Pakistani people behind a leader who can solidify their government internally. It is critical that the United States continue to work in partnership with the Pakistani people and their democratically elected government to tackle the many challenges we both face.”