Islamabad: Embattled Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf lost the support of some allies on Tuesday, with provincial legislatures dominated by his opponents increasing pressure on him to step down before a bid to impeach him.
Musharraf has been at the centre of a political crisis since early last year that has raised fears among the US and its allies for the stability of the nuclear-armed country, which is also a hiding place for al Qaeda leaders.
Speculation has been rife that former army chief Musharraf, a firm US ally, would quit. This came after the ruling coalition, led by Pakistan Peoples Party, said last week that it would impeach him for plunging Pakistan into a political and economic mess during his nearly nine-year rule.
But Musharraf’s spokesman said the ex-commando would not resign and would face any charges brought against him. A president has never been impeached in Pakistan, but analysts said a proceeding against Musharraf looked inevitable unless he stepped down.
“The tidal wave is sweeping the country. Even his own former allies are now voting against him,” information minister Sherry Rehman told reporters.
While coalition officials prepared the motion against Musharraf, who seized power as army chief in 1999, several of his old allies have said they would vote against him.
“This is no time for confrontation and we want to strengthen the democratic process. That’s why we have decided to support the impeachment motion,” said Sikandar Sherpao, leader of a small party that backed Musharraf for years.
The ruling coalition plans to move an impeachment motion this month but analysts are of the view that it could take several weeks before it is voted upon in a joint sitting of the bicameral parliament.