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Chargesheet against Musharraf to be ready on Friday

By Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
August 14, 2008 20:55 IST
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Pakistan's ruling coalition on Thursday rejected President Pervez Musharraf's call for reconciliation and announced that a chargesheet for his impeachment will be finalised on Friday, but apparently faced differences among allies on giving a "safe passage" to him.

"Democratic forces in Pakistan have come together to defeat dictatorship," Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said in his Independence Day address, hours after Musharraf belied speculation of his resignation and pressed for rapprochement.

The embattled 65-year-old president's speech on Wednesday night was seen as a move to buy time for bowing out "honourably" without facing next week's impeachment in Parliament.

The chargesheet against Musharraf for "violation of the Constitution and gross misconduct is almost complete and we just have to give the finishing touches to it," ruling Pakistan People's Party spokesman Farhatullah Babar told reporters in Islamabad.

He said the drafting committee will hold its final meeting on Friday to complete the document.

Amid reported moves by the US and UK to seek a "graceful exit" for Musharraf, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz chief Nawaz Sharif on Thursday openly opposed any such relief.

"Should a person who has reduced Pakistan to this condition be given safe passage? They ask for safe passage after breaking the law and violating the Constitution, selling out the country's sovereignty, ruining the country and making the people poor," said Sharif, who was ousted by Mussharraf in a 1999 coup, addressing an Independence Day rally in Lahore as supporters shouted "Hang Musharraf".

But the PPP, which heads the coalition, for the first time came out in public about its willingness to consider a possible "safe passage" for Musharraf.

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Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad