Will Musharraf Resign Before Summer?
The handwriting appears to be on the wall. The late Benazir Bhutto's PPP and the PML-N have come to agreement on forming the new Pakistani government and one of their first stated tasks is to restore the Supreme Court judges sacked by Musharraf. They were sacked because they were believed to likely challenge the constitutionality of Musharraf's election before the outgoing pro-Musharraf parliament lost its majority position.
Add to the PPP/PML-N agreement the coinciding words from Nawaz Sharif declaring in concert that Musharraf's presidency is illegal. Nawaz Sharif is the 'N' in PML-N and was Pakistan's Prime Minister until Musharraf's bloodless coup sent him into exile.
In January, ahead of the elections, Musharraf asked Nawaz Sharif's brother to join the government in what appeared a vain effort to stave off certain impeachment by embracing his rival. When he did this, we noted immediately in 'The Impeachment Impetus of Musharraf's New Friends' that Pervez Musharraf had also told The Australian in January that he would resign before facing impeachment from an opposition-majority parliament.
Musharraf said in January, "If that (impeachment) happens, let me assure that I'd be leaving office before they would do anything. If they won and they formed a government that had the intention of doing this, I wouldn't like to stick around." And this may have tipped his hand, with his nemesis Nawaz Sharif now calling the bet. Musharraf essentially said he would go quietly if challenged, and Nawaz Sharif looks ready to put that challenge forth.
Impeachment proceedings appear now all but certain with the agreement to reinstate the justices and Sharif's timely - and not coincidental - reiteration that Musharraf's presidency is illegal.
The power-sharing agreement calls for the reinstatement of the judges within 30 days of formation of the government - a government that will include PML-N cabinet members and a PPP Prime Minister.
An agreed-to PPP Prime Minister is key going forward, as the question then begs: if Musharraf is impeached or, as he said, resigns ahead of it, who will the new Pakistani Parliament elect as the new President? Nawaz Sharif, anyone? There will not be a PPP prime minister and president in a coalition government.
As we said in January, "For Nawaz Sharif, revenge is best served. Period. By any means."