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Archive for May 29th, 2008

Following yesterday’s breaking news story that the coalition government reportedly agreed to “expel” Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf from office, media outlets today reported that the Pakistani military and the Presidency moved to quell these notions. Although The News reported that Musharraf met with Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen. Ashfaq Kayani at the Army House late Wednesday [PST], after which he reportedly “made up his mind” to quit the government, Reuters cited a statement issued by the military today, in which Kayani “regretted that a section of press is trying to unnecessarily sensationalize routine functional matters.” A spokesman for Musharraf also rebutted The News’ assertion that the president agreed to leave his official residence in Rawalpindi, noting, “Neither has there been any discussion of the president moving out of the President’s Lodge, nor is there any plan for him to do so.” His spokesman called the rumor that the army asked Musharraf to step down from power, “totally wrong.” Reuters noted, “Despite pressure from several sides to quit, Musharraf has sat tight and watched cracks develop in the new coalition over how to tackle him.”

The recent political speculation and rumors has had a drastic effect on the country’s stock market. Media outlets Thursday reported that the recent rumors that Musharraf was resigning from office were one of the reasons for falls of more than 4 percent on the Karachi Stock Market on both Wednesday and Thursday. BBC News reported today,

The country’s stock market has responded to this ongoing crisis by shedding nearly 3,000 points in trading in two months. The Pakistani rupee has also lost more than 10% value during the last two weeks. Meanwhile, the gap in trade balance has exceeded $10bn, due to a rising oil bill.

PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari met with members of the Karachi Stock Exchange [KSE] in Islamabad on Wednesday, where he said the government “would focus on economic issues once the political issues are out of the way.” However, given the volatile nature of the economy and its detrimental ramifications for the country, one can only hope these political problems can be solved sooner rather than later.

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