Former Gen. Pervez Musharraf, President of Pakistan, has announced that he will be resigning rather than face impeachment precedings.
This is major news, because Musharraf has been in power for the last 9 years and has been both good and terrible for the country. Under his watch, Pakistan and India have come pretty close to war, and the tribal areas near Afghanistan have become a near warzone as his war with fundamentalist militants continues.
The US has considered him a key ally in the war on terror, and will likely be sad to see him go. It was useful for them to have a Muslim country so blatantly support them, and be willing to help provide direct military action in the border areas.
9 years ago, Musharraf deposed Nawaz Sharif in a coup, overthrowing the government and seizing control. Since then, there have been some particularly sticky situations. Last year, Musharraf declared a state of emergency and deposed the Supreme Court. Thousands of Pakistani lawyers and people took to the streets in protest, plunging the country into severe uncertainty.
Sharif and Benazir Bhutto (who was later assassinated while campaigning) returned to Pakistan to help lead other political parties against Musharraf in the elections. As we reported here on 4080, Musharraf had no choice but to concede electoral defeat.
Now, it looks like Sharif has his revenge. The coalition that sprung up, run by Bhutto’s husband and Sharif, had recently decided to impeach Musharraf, and have apparently managed to force him from power.
This could be great news for democracy, but may also result in even more danger. The Pakistani military isn’t exactly known for staying out of politics. So we’ll have to wait and see as more details emerge.