Musharraf 'unfit for office'

Pakistan's most powerful province calls on beleaguered president to quit.

    The president's supporters have dismissed allegations of corruption against him [AFP]

    "Pakistan's ruling coalition had warned that it would impeach the president, however when the session of parliament did begin it went into a regular question and answer session," Kamal Hyder, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Islamabad, said.

    "That sent a wave of disappointment across the country as people were expecting there would be a showdown."

    Corruption allegations

    Charges against Musharraf have not been finalised, but the chief of the ruling party has reportedly accused the president of misappropriating hundreds of millions of dollars in US aid intended for the Pakistani military for supporting the so-called "war on terror".

    "They claim it's been going in budget support, but that's not the answer. We're talking about $700m a year missing. The rest has been taken by 'Mush' for some scheme or other and we've got to find it," Asif Ali Zardari, who heads the ruling coalition, was quoted as telling Britain's Sunday Times newspaper.

    Zardari claimed the American aid may have gone to fund rogue members of Pakistani intelligence - recently accused by US officials of supporting pro-Taliban militants fighting in Afghanistan.

    Musharraf supporters have dismissed the reported comments from Zardari, who was labeled "Mr 10 per cent" for his alleged links to corruption during the two governments of Benazir Bhutto, Zardari's late wife.

    Tariq Azeem, the spokesman for the main pro-Musharraf party, said the charges against Musharraf were "baseless" and would only redouble the president's resolve to reject the charges.

    "Absolutely president Musharraf will prove all this wrong. There is no way he will quit now quietly while being blamed for corruption," he said.
    Azeem also rejected claims from Sherry Rehman, the chief government spokeswoman, that several federal lawmakers from the pro-Musharraf party were ready to support his impeachment.

    Bajaur fighting

    Away from the capital, Pakistani helicopter gunships attacked positions said to belong to pro-Taliban fighters in the country's tribal region, killing 50 fighters, officials said.

    The deaths increased the toll to more than 150 people killed in Bajaur, a known sanctuary for al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters, in recent days.

    Thousands of people were fleeing from the area after aircraft bombed four villages, the Reuters news agency reported.

    Separately, residents found the beheaded bodies of two men in an area 16km  west of Khar, Bajaur's main town, with a note that they had been killed for spying for US and Pakistani forces.

    "The note said the men were helping forces ... identify militant positions," Mohmammad Khan, a local resident, said.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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