By Ashraf Mumtaz
LAHORE, June 15: What’s the possibility of the impeachment of President Musharraf? And in case he is removed by the parliament, who will succeed him as the head of state?
The PPP and the PML-N, the two major coalition partners, have yet to take a “collective” decision on the subject, sources from both the parties say. The PML-N moves in this regard are being termed ‘unilateral’ by the PPP circles.
PPP sources say that the only thing clear so far is that Muhammadmian Soomro will not be acceptable to the party as a successor to President Musharraf.
The sources said once the matter had come under discussion and the party said in very clear terms that the incumbent Senate chairman was not the suitable person for the post of the president.
Under the constitution, in case the president steps down or is removed, the Senate chairman becomes the acting president till the new head of state is elected by the Senate, the National Assembly and four provincial legislatures.
The sources said for the time being the impeachment of the president was not under consideration. “However, the possibility cannot be ruled out in the future”.
Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar had said recently that Asif Ali Zardari could be the party candidate for the office of the president in case his power to dissolve the National Assembly was not taken back.
However, whether the head of a party could simultaneously become the president of the country is a moot point.
PML-N sources say that a decision on Musharraf’s successor would be taken by the top leadership of the two parties.
They said the PPP was not only the single largest party in the National Assembly but was also a formidable force in Sindh, Punjab and other provinces. Therefore, they said, the PPP had a stronger claim to the post of the president.
The sources said the joint candidate could be decided once President Musharraf was thrown out of office.
Courtesy: Daily Dawn, 16/6/2008