ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - August 14, 2008 - Faced with desertions by his political supporters and the neutrality of the Pakistani military, President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan, an important ally of the United States, is expected to resign in the next few days rather than face impeachment charges, Pakistani politicians and Western diplomats said Thursday.
His departure from office would be likely to unleash new instability in the country as the two main parties in the civilian government jockeyed for the division of power.
The details of how Mr. Musharraf would exit, and whether he would be able to stay in Pakistan - apparently his strong preference - or would seek residency abroad were now under discussion, the politicians said.
Mr. Musharraf was expected to resign before the governing coalition presented charges for impeachment to the Parliament early next week, said Nisar Ali Khan, a senior official in the Pakistani Muslim League-N, the minority partner in the coalition government.
Similarly, Sheikh Mansoor Ahmed, a senior official of the Pakistan Peoples Party, the major party in the coalition, said Thursday that the president would probably leave in the “next 72 hours.”