Pakistan's ruling coalition on Thursday rejected President Pervez Musharraf's Independence Day reconciliation appeal to his opponents -- who are set to impeach him -- saying that democratic forces have united to 'defeat dictatorship'.
Democratic forces in Pakistan have come together to defeat dictatorship, Prime Minister Yousuf Gilani said while addressing the nation on the occasion of Pakistan's Independence day without referring directly to the embattled president's apparent peace overtures in his address to the nation a few hours earlier.
Gilani also called for reconciliation -- but the Pakistan People's Party leader indicated that it did not apply to Musharraf, who is facing mounting pressure to quit before he faces an imminent impeachment.
"The period of oppression is over forever. Dictatorship has become a story of the past," Gilani said hours after Musharraf gave no sign of stepping down. "Our democratic coalition government has adopted a policy of reconciliation. We should move forward for national progress," he said.
A grim Musharraf, in comments apparently directed at Pakistan People's Party chairman Asif Ali Zardari and Pakistan Muslim League-N chief Nawaz Sharif, said, "It's my appeal that we should adopt a reconciliatory approach so that stability should return."
In his first public appearance since the ruling coalition announced plans to impeach him, Musharraf said, "We should all put aside our differences and work to make Pakistan strong. Pakistan is passing through a very critical moment in its history and our enemies are trying to weaken us externally and internally."