Musharraf Announces Resignation, Kerry Responds

This morning Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf announced that he would resign. Musharraf has been under pressure to resign due to “impending impeachment charges.” His resignation will end “nearly nine years as one of the United States’ most important allies in the campaign against terrorism.” The scenario reminds me a bit of Nixon…

Speaking on television from his presidential office here at 1 p.m., Mr. Musharraf, dressed in a gray suit and tie, said that after consulting with his aides, “I have decided to resign today.” He said he was putting national interest above “personal bravado.”

“Whether I win or lose the impeachment, the nation will lose,” he said, adding that he was not prepared to put the office of the presidency through the impeachment process.

Senator John Kerry released the following statement today in response to Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf’s decision to resign:

“President Musharraf’s decision to step aside is a welcome development for the people of Pakistan. His resignation is the latest reminder of the perils of this Administration’s personality-driven foreign policy that turned a blind eye to Pakistan’s people. President Bush and Vice President Cheney backed a discredited dictator, which has undercut our ability to work with the new government to eliminate the terrorist sanctuary that has reemerged in Pakistan’s tribal areas. Pakistan’s politicians must shift their focus from each other to preventing al Qaeda and Taliban forces from seeking safe havens from which to launch their next attacks. Over the long-term, the best way to fight extremism is for Pakistan’s politicians to use this opportunity to strengthen their democracy and deliver an economic plan that can improve the lives of their people. This ultimately is their fight and their future, but for their sake and ours, America needs to help them succeed.”

Kerry is a senior member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and chairs the Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs, which has jurisdiction over matters in Pakistan. Kerry spoke with the leadership of Pakistan’s coalition government last week.

Musharraf’s resignation comes “after 10 days of intense political maneuvering in Pakistan” and it clears “the way for the four-month-old coalition government to choose a new president by a vote of Parliament and the provincial assemblies.”

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