With the whole country talking about impeachment of the President, I thought of doing some research to find out what it actually means. I found some very interesting things about this whole process which I would like to share with everyone:
According to wikipedia, “Impeachment is the first of two stages in a specific process for a legislative body to forcibly remove a government official. The second stage is conviction.” (In law, a conviction is the verdict that results when a court of law finds a defendant guilty of a crime.) Now, impeachment is a new concept in Pakistan, so we basically have to rely on the western sources to understand more about it. According to the US constituition, “the President, Vice President, and all civil officers of the United States shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”
What we know already from all the daily talk shows is that a charge sheet, or a motion to impeach as it is more formally called, is to be developed and requires a majority vote from the parliament but a two-thirds majority is required for the actual conviction. Now, ofcourse, in Pakistan, its not the crimes that matter for impeachment (we all know that the people advocating the establishment of the ‘rule of law’ in the Land of Pure have a corrupt past and can be impeached themselves). Here, the only thing that matters is numbers and the ruling coalition has that. (Cowasjee has captured this so well here).
Obviously the movers of the impeachment are looking for President Pervez Musharraf to emulate Richard Nixon who had thought it wise to quit before he had the ignominy of being grilled by the Senate (SOURCE). But, President Musharaf so far resisted calls to step down and insisted he will serve out his current five-year term. I think he really needs to check out the history of impeachment (amongst the three US presidents: Andrew Johson, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, only Bill Clinton has been able to be acquitted of the obstruction charge by a 50 to 50 vote in the Senate. ) I hope President Musharaf makes a wise decision.