On Monday, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf announced his resignation from office. According to the Associated Press, “An emotional Musharraf said he wanted to spare the nation from a perilous impeachment battle and that he was satisfied that all he had done ‘was for the people and for the country.'” During his live televised address, he asserted, “I hope the nation and the people will forgive my mistakes.” In his speech, the BBC reported that Musharraf also said “he was confident the charges against him would not stand, but this was not the time for more confrontation.” According to the BBC’s Chris Morris, “Mr. Musharraf’s resignation marks the end of an era for a country facing enormous economic and security challenges.”
Following the shocking announcement Monday, the AFP cited statements by Benazir Bhutto‘s son and co-chairman of the PPP, 19 year old Bilawal Bhutto, who noted, “After the martyrdom of my mother I said that democracy was the best revenge — and today it was proved true.” He told Geo Television, “Someone from the Pakistan People’s Party would be the next president of Pakistan but I don’t know who that would be.” Bilawal’s father and the effective leader of the PPP, Asif Ali Zardari, is of course rumored to be vying for the now-coveted presidency spot.
The AP noted in its coverage that television footage “showed groups of people celebrating in the streets in several towns across Pakistan, some of them firing automatic weapons into the sky.” The news agency added, “Musharraf said he will turn in his resignation to the National Assembly speaker on Monday but it was not immediately clear whether it would become effective the same day. The chairman of Pakistan’s Senate, Mian Mohammed Soomro, was poised to take over in the interim.” Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said leaders of the ruling coalition would discuss later today whether to prosecute Musharraf in court on charges that that were being planned for the impeachment process, or allow for his safe exit from office.
So, in the aftermath of what many are calling a “shocking” decision, how do you feel about Musharraf’s resignation? How did you react to the news? Finally, what do you think is in store for the country next?
[To read CHUP’s recent coverage of the impeachment speculation, click here.]