Musharraf resigns as Pakistan president

August 18, 2008 11:46:14 PM PDT
The sudden resignation on Monday of Pakistani President Pervez Musharaff created a void that could have serious consequences for the war against terror.

It took only minutes for Perzez Musharraf to resign from a position he's held for nine years. Now, Pakistan is without a president.

"It's certainly for Pakistan a big change and a big change for the United States," said Thomas Henriksen, a senior fellow from the Hoover Institution.

Henriksen says change isn't always for the better, especially in Pakistan's case. Without the right leader, the country could crumble and any ground the U.S. gained against insurgents and Al Quaida in this war on terror, could be lost.

"The U.S. has a real problem if we can't get the Pakistanis to help us in routing and eliminating those Taliban insurgents along the frontier in Afghanistan," said Henriksen.

That frontier borders Northwest Pakistan. It's an area Musharraf allowed U.S. troops to access.

"We're visiting a place in Lahore," said Amjad Hanif, a Pakistani-American.

Hanif's family lives in Northeast Pakistan. He was there a year and a half ago, at a time when Musharraf's popularity was dropping. It's a stark contrast to when the president first took over and created a country filled with optimism.

"That's all sort of vanished in the past year. All of the optimism and the hope has disappeared for young people especially," said Hanif.

The discontent reached a boiling point in November, when Musharraf tried to retain power by establishing emergency rule. He had students and lawyers arrested. And now it seems, Pakistan's political parties have found their voices again. Most support Benazir's Bhutto's husband, Asif Zardari or former President Nazwar Sharif as Pakistan's next president.

"We just want to make sure someone comes in that can lead the country through some growing pains," said Hanif.

The world will also be watching, since Pakistan has nuclear weapons. Musharraf promised he wouldn't share them with Al Quaida, but that guarantee has now ended.


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