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Pressure mounts on Musharraf to quit or be impeached

August 10, 2008 20:55 IST

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Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf [Images] on Sunday faced charges of 'misappropriating' $700 million of anti-terror aid provided by the United States to the country, a day before the process to impeach him is to begin in Parliament.

Firing a fresh salvo against the beleaguered former army chief, ruling Pakistan People's Party chief Asif Ali Zardari accused Musharraf, who has often targeted the country's politicians for indulging in corruption, of misappropriation and said 'rogue' ISI members could have benefited from it.

"Our grand old Musharraf has not been passing on all the 1 billion dollar a year that the Americans have been giving for the armed forces. We are talking about $700 million a year missing. The rest has been taken by 'Mush' for some scheme or other and we have got to find it," 54-year-old Zardari told The Sunday Times.

As the ruling coalition prepared a 'comprehensive and solid' chargesheet to nail 64-year-old Musharraf down in an impeachment motion to be brought in the National Assembly session starting on Monday, the President faced mounting pressure from friends and foes to step down.

Cracks have already appeared in Musharraf's main ally Pakistan Muslim League-Q with MP Sardar Bahadur Khan Sihar advising the President to gracefully quit and claiming to have the 'support' of a dozen MPs and a couple of senators. Four independent FATA senators have also asked Musharraf to quit and pledged to support the impeachment motion.

"We will prepare a comprehensive and solid chargesheet that Musharraf will not be able to fight it. It is very necessary that he resigns himself, otherwise the impeachment will start," Law Minister Farooq Naek said after the ruling coalition met to draw a battle plan to end Musharraf's nine-year reign.

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