Rashid Qureshi told reporters that Musharraf would not
resign or seek immunity.
"These unsubstantiated spate of reports are totally
baseless and malicious," Qureshi said, according to the Associated Press.
He claimed such talk was having a "negative impact" on the country's
However, Tariq Azim, a top official in the main
pro-Musharraf party, says talks are under way for the former army chief to
avoid impeachment He told the AP that the discussions include guarantees that
he will avoid criminal charges.
Azim said another option would be to strip the presidency
down to a figurehead position.
Asked if Musharraf had decided to quit, Azim said he was
still weighing his options. "There are people who are advising him to
avoid confrontation, but I don't think he has made up his mind," Azim said
in an AP interview.
Chaudhry Shujaat, the chairman of the Musharraf-allied party
Pakistan Muslim League-Q, told an English-language television channel in the
region that Musharraf told him in a meeting on Friday that he would deal with
the charges "in a democratic spirit and in accordance with the
Constitution," the New York Times reported.
An impeachment motion is expected to be brought to the
Parliament as early as next week. Ruling coalition leaders Asif Ali Zardari,
the widower of slain former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, and ex-prime
minister Nawaz Sharif announced the bid to impeach Musharraf over charges of
abuse of office last Thursday.
Speaking Thursday in a televised Independence Day address,
Musharraf called for political stability and reconciliation to tackle the
country's economic and security problems.
Musharraf did not refer to a plan to impeach him drawn up by
a coalition government led by the party of assassinated former Prime Minister
In his first public comments since the coalition announced
its impeachment plan last week, the firm U.S ally also did not refer to the
calls for him to step down.
"If we want to put our economy on the right track and
fight terrorism then we need political stability. Unless we bring political
stability, I think we can't fight them properly," Musharraf said,
according to Reuters.
Musharraf has been at the center of a political crisis since
early last year that has heightened concerns in the United States and among its
allies about the stability of Pakistan, a nuclear-armed Muslim state that is
also a hiding place for al-Qaida leaders.
Speculation has been rife that Musharraf, who seized power
in a 1999 coup, would quit rather than face impeachment, though his spokesman
has consistently denied that.
Coalition officials were not available for comment but
Musharraf's appeal for unity would appear unlikely to overcome what they call a
"tidal wave" of opposition to him.
A growing number of politicians, including some old allies,
have called on Musharraf to face a vote of confidence or be impeached.
Pakistan's political showdown is unnerving investors, with
the rupee setting a new low against the dollar and stocks hovering near
As the pressure mounts on Musharraf, a crucial question is
how the army, which has ruled for more than half the country's history, will
react. Coalition leaders said on Tuesday the army would not intervene to back
its old boss.
Musharraf has anchored Pakistan's backing for the U.S.-led campaign
against Islamist militancy since 2001. The new government has vowed to maintain
support even though the policy is deeply unpopular with many Pakistanis.
The United States has urged the government to focus on a
deteriorating economy and spreading militancy but has not commented on the
impeachment, saying it is a Pakistani issue.
Musharraf's popularity began to evaporate last year when he
clashed with the judiciary and imposed emergency rule to ensure another term.
His rivals won February parliamentary elections and have sought to push him