Pakistan’s Musharraf announces resignation

ISLAMABAD, August 18, 2008 (AFP) – Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf announced in a televised address to the nation Monday that he had decided to resign after nine years in power to avoid the threat of impeachment. The former army chief, who seized power in a bloodless coup in 1999, was under huge pressure from the governing coalition to step down before it launched the first impeachment proceedings in Pakistan’s 61-year history.

“After viewing the situation and consulting legal advisers and poltical allies, with their advice I have decided to resign,” a grim-faced Musharraf said, backed by Pakistani flags and a portrait of the country’s founder.

“I leave my future in the hands of people.”

Musharraf made the shock announcement after denying that any of the impeachment charges against him could stand and launching into a lengthy defence of his time in power.

“Not a single charge in the impeachment can stand against me,” Musharraf said. “No charge can be proved against me because I never did anything for myself, it was all for Pakistan.”

He said that there was now law and order in the country, that human rights and democracy had been improved and that Pakistan was now an crucial cou