Islamabad: Pakistan celebrated its Independence Day on Thursday and the ceremonies for the first time in almost a decade were led by a civilian Prime Minsiter. But the focus continued to be on President Pervez Musharraf.
For the first time in eight years a civilian Prime Minister led ceremonies marking Pakistan's 61st Independence Day for Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gillani took away this golden opportunity from President Pervez Musharraf .
“The era of repression is over for ever. Dictatorship has become a tale of the past. The laws imposing restrictions on basic human rights are being abolished,” says Gillani.
But, Musharraf is still there refusing to quit quietly. Last night, he warned the civilian government that reconciliation not confrontation was in everybody's best interest but in the background Musharraf's departure is the subject of intense negotiations.
Though, Musharraf has been pushed into a corner, but sources close to the negotiations say he is still holding out for three things: indemnity for violating the constitution, not having to face criminal charges such as for corruption and murder, and the option of remaining in Pakistan after he resigns.
Local media reports say a senior British diplomat has been drafted in to work on Nawaz Sharif but the former Prime Minister is not prepared to let off the man who so brutally cut short his tenure.
“Musharraf has been an American stooge and he is the same Musharraf who has himself written in his book that I have sold Pakistanis to the US. Musharraf should go and if doesn't then he should be impeached,” says Sharif.
Musharraf is reported to have discussed his departure with close friends and family and it's clear that the army does not want its ex-chief humiliated in any manner.