Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Musharraf delays Olympic trip under impeachment threat

Word from Pakistan is that beleaguered President Pervez Musharraf has delayed a trip to Beijing for the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Olympics to deal with an impeachment crisis at home. Musharraf, the former general who seized control of Pakistan's government in a 1999 coup, saw his allies lose control of parliament in February to a coalition that includes Nawaz Sharif, the last prime minister, and the Pakistan People's Party of the late Benazir Bhutto. Bhutto was assassinated while campaigning in December. The defeat of Musharraf's allies in parliament came after he assumed emergency powers in November and fired Pakistan Supreme Court justices. Coalition leaders were meeting this week in Islamabad to resolve differences over Musharraf's impeachment and restoration of the justices, according to the Reuters international news service. Musharraf, an ally of the United States in the war against terrorism, has been pressured to resign but has pledged instead to work with the civilian government. Sharif has pressed for impeachment since returning from exile last year, but the head of the coalition, Bhutto's husband Asif Ali Zardari, has sought to avoid direct confrontation with Musharraf until now.

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