Declaring that President Pervez Musharraf's political fate has been "sealed", Pakistani media on Friday said the former military strongman should bow out "quietly with dignity" without fighting his impeachment to save Pakistan from another messy power struggle.
"It is clear to a majority of ordinary people that the president has gone past his sell-by date and it is time to 'deploy the dignity' and go with grace, gently easing himself into the past," The News daily said in its editorial a day after the ruling PPP-led coalition decided to bring an impeachment motion against Musharraf.
The Karachi-based and influential Dawn newspaper said there is no doubt Musharraf will fight back but given the odds against him and the unity shown by his political opponents inside and outside Parliament, "he would be well advised to decide to bow out gracefully".
"Unless something out of the ordinary happens, President Pervez Musharraf's political fate has been sealed," it said.
Pointing that "the game has just begun", the Daily Times said there are many battles to be won by the coalition partners -- the numbers game in Parliament and constitutional skirmishes in the Supreme Court before they can win this war against Musharraf.
"The game has just started. An impeachment looks problematic for many reasons. There are as many chances of his resigning as there are of the impeachment failing," it said.
With Musharraf out of the way, the dailies hoped that the government installed in March will instead focus on problems of the people, including spiralling food and fuel prices. "No Pakistani head of state has so far been impeached. The move, if successful, will take the country into new political territory," the Dawn said, pressing that the impeachment process should not become a long-drawn-out affair that will eclipse all other issues and cripple the government's ability to deal with the people's problems.
"It will take more than the President's impeachment to tackle the gargantuan problems the people of Pakistan face, it said. It cited the rising wave of Taliban terror, power outages, the situation in Balochistan, Pakistan's growing isolation and "an increasingly harsh tone of the criticism being levelled against Islamabad by its neighbours, not without a nod from Washington".
The News said politicians shouting for Musharraf's ouster want him out so that they can tussle for his job but said it was clear that his time was up. "It's time to go Mr President, and for the sake of all of us please maintain your dignity and go quietly," the daily said.