UK worried by Musharraf exit

Pervez Musharraf resigned in a one-hour televised address to the nation
Pervez Musharraf resigned in a one-hour televised address to the nation

The British government has called on Pakistan's coalition government to "come together" after the resignation of president Pervez Musharraf.

Foreign secretary David Miliband said in a statement issued this lunchtime that "strong institutions rather than individuals" are important for Pakistan's progress.

The country has suffered a turbulent political period through Mr Musharraf's demise. He implemented a state of emergency in November and December 2007 to ensure another term in power before losing popular support as seen in parliamentary elections in February this year.

"The responsibilities on political leaders in Pakistan are now significant," Mr Miliband added.

"They need to come together to ensure that the recently elected government carries forward an economic and security agenda consistent with the long-term interests of the Pakistani people."

In addition to rising militancy in Pakistan's mountainous regions bordering Afghanistan the country faces political divides over dropped corruption allegations through the national reconciliation ordnance, which cleared assassinated leader Benazir Bhutto among others.

Mr Miliband continued: "The UK will remain strongly committed to its partnership with the Pakistani people, notably through our aid programme. We will also continue to deepen our security co-operation with the new government. And we will be clear about the essential nature of a new partnership between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

"I look forward to the early election of a new president in Pakistan to take forward the important shared work that binds our two countries together."

Earlier today Mr Musharraf issued a passionate televised address in which he warned that "Pakistan is sliding down fast".

In defiant mood, he claimed: "I'm not scared about any charges sheet; I'm not worried about any charge sheet. No one can prove any allegations against me, God willing."

Pakistan analyst Farzana Shaikh of Chatham House told "It's fair to say that Pakistan is entering uncharted waters. There are turbulent times ahead."


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