Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has resigned from office to avoid impeachment, ending nine turbulent years in power.
Mr. Musharraf denied any wrongdoing and called the charges against him
baseless when he spoke to the nation in a live television broadcast on Monday. His announcement came towards the end of the hour-long speech, during which he strongly defended his leadership.
It is not clear if Mr. Musharraf will stay in Pakistan or go into
exile. Senate chairman Mohammedmian Soomro will serve as acting
Pakistan's current coalition partners Ali Asif Zardari and Nawaz Sharif
met in the capital, Islamabad, after the announcement. Several issues
remain unresolved, including who will take over the presidency, the
restoration of top judges fired by the Pakistani leader and whether to
prosecute Mr. Musharraf.
He was soundly defeated by his political opponents during elections
earlier this year. The ruling coalition moved to impeach Mr. Musharraf,
accusing him of misconduct and violating the constitution when he
imposed emergency in November 2007.
Mr. Musharraf used the measure to fire senior judges in an effort to
prevent legal challenges in his run for a second term in office.
A member of the coalition (People's Party Senator Raza Rabbani) called Mr. Musharraf's resignation a victory for democracy.
A spokesman for the Pakistan Muslim League-N party (Ehsan Iqbal) says his departure will make Pakistan more stable and allow the government to address other pressing issues.