Musharraf Resigns

Rather than be impeached:

Under pressure over impending impeachment charges, President Pervez Musharraf announced he would resign Monday, ending nearly nine years as one of the United States’ most important allies in the campaign against terrorism.

Speaking on television from his presidential office here at 1 p.m., Mr. Musharraf, dressed in a gray suit and tie, said that after consulting with his aides, “I have decided to resign today.” He said he was putting national interest above “personal bravado.”

“Whether I win or lose the impeachment, the nation will lose,” he said, adding that he was not prepared to put the office of the presidency through the impeachment process.

Mr. Musharraf said the governing coalition, which has pushed for impeachment, had tried to “turn lies into truths.”

“They don’t realize they can succeed against me but the country will undergo irreparable damage.”

[…]

As Mr. Musharraf began to lose popularity last year, Washington tried to forge a power-sharing relationship between him and Ms. Bhutto, who had been in exile since the late 1990s and returned to Pakistan last fall. She was assassinated Dec. 27.

The Musharraf government accused the Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud of her murder. By then Mr. Sharif had also returned from exile to run in elections. The Pakistan Peoples Party of Ms. Bhutto, under the stewardship of her husband, Mr. Zardari, and the Pakistan Muslim League-N, under Mr. Sharif, swept into power in elections in February.

Mr. Musharraf leaves office as the Taliban insurgency in the tribal areas has taken on renewed vigor in the past week, prompting civilians to leave their homes there, and pitting the paramilitary Frontier Corps, directed by the army, directly against the insurgents.

Salman Masood contributed reporting from Islamabad, Pakistan, and Tom Rachman

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