This is IN THE NEWS in
VOA Special English.
Lawmakers in Pakistan
will elect a new president on September sixth. Officials set the date Friday.
Presidents are elected by parliament and the assemblies of the four provinces.
resigned Monday after almost nine years in power. He defended his record,
denied any wrongdoing and said he was resigning for the good of the country.
Lawmakers united in
recent weeks to force him out. They had threatened to bring impeachment charges
against him in parliament.
Who might replace him?
One possibility: Asif Ali Zardari, husband of murdered former prime minister
Benazir Bhutto. He now heads her Pakistan People's Party, which leads the
But one issue that could
split the coalition is what to do about more than forty top judges. Mister
Musharraf dismissed them late last year during the six weeks when he suspended
They include former
chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. If he gets his job back, he could
undo a legal amnesty that Mister Musharraf agreed to last year. That amnesty
dismissed corruption charges against Asif Zardari and other leaders of his
Yet political leaders
have said that the recent deal to unite against the president was based on an
agreement to let the judges quickly return.
Nawaz Sharif heads a
major party in the coalition. He threatened to withdraw unless the judges got
their jobs back by Friday. Now, he has agreed to next Wednesday. Parliament
will debate a resolution on the issue starting Monday.
Pervez Musharraf seized
power without violence as army chief in nineteen ninety-nine. In June of two
thousand one, he appointed himself president.
The United States
praised him as an ally in its war on terrorism after the al-Qaida attacks in
September of that year. Pakistan had supported the Taliban government that let
al-Qaida leaders operate in Afghanistan.
Last November, after
lawmakers re-elected him, Mister Musharraf declared emergency rule. He said his
actions were needed because of growing Islamic extremism.
Critics said the real
reason was because the Supreme Court had questioned the legality of a general
as president. He finally resigned from the military, and new judges loyal to
him approved his presidency.
Then, in February, his
party suffered a big defeat in parliamentary elections.
The United States says
Pervez Musharraf has been a friend. But it also says it supports the move to a
democratic government in Pakistan and respects the election results.
On Thursday, near
Islamabad, two suicide bombers killed more than sixty people outside Pakistan's
biggest weapons factory. A Pakistani Taliban spokesman said the attack was in
answer to a Pakistani offensive.
For weeks, Pakistani
forces have been fighting militants in tribal areas along the Afghan border.
Red Cross officials are launching an emergency operation to aid tens of
thousands of people displaced by the conflict.
And that's IN THE NEWS
in VOA Special English. I'm Steve Ember.