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Pakistans musharraf announces resignation

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Pakistan’s Musharraf Announces Resignation

Picture: (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)A Pakistani seller watches President Pervez Musharraf appearing on TV at an electronic shop in Islamabad, Pakistan. Musharraf says he has decided to resign to avoid an impeachment battle.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf announced in a televised address to the nation today that he had decided to resign after nine years in power to avoid the threat of impeachment.

The former army chief, who seized power in a bloodless coup in 1999, was under huge pressure from the governing coalition to step down before it launched the first impeachment proceedings in Pakistan's 61-year history.

A grim-faced Musharraf says "After viewing the situation and consulting legal advisers and political allies, with their advice he says he has decided to resign".

Musharraf made the shock announcement after denying that any of the impeachment charges against him could stand and launching into a lengthy defense of his time in power. He says "he leaves the future in the hands of the people".

Musharraf says "not a single charge in the impeachment can stand against him". Adding that "No charge can be proved against him because he never did anything for himself, it was all for Pakistan."

He says that there was now law and order in the country, that human rights and democracy had been improved and that Pakistan was now a crucial country internationally.

Musharraf's popularity slumped last year amid his attempts to oust the country's chief justice and then during a wave of Taliban bombings that killed more than 1,000 people, including former premier Benazir Bhutto.