At last the ruling coalition partners have been able to clinch consensus that the President of Pakistan should be impeached under Article 47 of the constitution. The coalition partners believe that the rest of the pieces of the obtaining political jigsaw-puzzle like the restoration of judges and repeal of Article 58-2(b) would automatically come to an end. The planning to oust Musharraf begins with asking him to get a vote of confidence from the NA in pursuance of his undertaking in the SC, which he could not obtain because his allies do not have the majority. Despite the facts that the president had committed to do so through his lawyers before the SC when his electoral legitimacy was in question in the apex court, that if elected by the lame duck parliament he would seek vote of confidence from the present assembly, triggering the second stage of the coalition plan which envisages his impeachment. A special committee of the coalition partners is working to finalise drafts of the proposed resolution to be tabled in the parliament and assemblies. The resolution will ask the president to seek vote of confidence from the assemblies or face impeachment. The committee is also drafting a charge-sheet against the president for presentation in a joint session of the parliament. However, Musharraf has accepted the advice of his political allies to defend himself and not use Article 58-2(b) even as a last resort. His political and legal aides have informed him that he has been left with only two options - resign or face impeachment. So he has decided to defend himself against the impeachment move. He has refuted the charge of abrogation of the constitution and insists that he has worked sincerely for the strengthening of democracy and still wishes to work with the new government. Sources have confirmed that the option of appealing in the SC was also dropped after a legal advice that the apex court could not intervene since the parliament was a supreme body. However, the president might still approach the SC but the coalition partners have decided if such a move was made, the parliament would defend its constitutional right, "It is an internal matter of the parliament and the court cannot look into it." Since the constitutional provision about defection will not apply here, the voting pattern may be different from the norm in view of the fact that in this case the defection clause will not apply. Under Article 63-A which deals with disqualification on grounds of defection, a member would stand disqualified if he votes contrary to his parliamentary party's direction in relation to election of the Prime Minister or Chief Minister or a vote of confidence or no-confidence or Money Bills. Since voting for impeachment is not covered by this defection clause, desertions cannot be ruled out. The ruling coalition would require 295 votes at the joint sitting of the parliament to carry through its motion for impeachment. The coalition has claimed to have 305 votes and hopes that as the momentum for impeachment would develop, more voters would jump on to the band wagon. The coalition got a boost yesterday when 4 senators from FATA declared their support for Musharraf's impeachment. The PML-N has claimed that the coalition had the support of 325 members of the parliament. Information Minister Rahman claimed to have the support of 350 members and the number was increasing "every hour". She alleged that many legislators were being prevented from voting and explained that the government is not involved in the horse-trading. Once Musharraf is impeached the deposed judges would be restored in line with the Murree Declaration or via a constitutional package. Thereafter, the coalition would start working to cleanse the constitution of 58-2(b) and such other distortions that have crept into the documents, thanks to the 17th amendment. The day seems to have arrived for the impeachment of the president. Musharraf is said to be closeted with his legal advisors to devise a counter strategy. His best defence weapon, however, would be the use of Article 58-2(b) but this would be predicted upon the willingness of the Military top brass consenting in advance to such an action. So far there are no signs, whatsoever the president getting the nod from Rawalpindi. Given that impeachment is provided for constitutionally, there is no question of Military intervening to bail him out. Ideally the president should now call it a day and gracefully walk in to the sunset. The dignity of his office demands that he should leave when he sees he is not wanted anymore. In case he fights back and loses, he should be then ready for the next stage - his trial for treason under Article 6 of the constitution. Recently the senate saw angry exchanges because the opposition expressed the fear that there could be horse trading to buy votes. To pre-empt the sale and purchase of legislators, it is essential that the vote for the impeachment be by a show of hands or division rather than by secret ballot. Now the onus is on the coalition partners to take the impeachment process as quickly as possible. Pakistan virtually has come to a halt and the nation feels that the coalition should tackle such problems as the deteriorating economy and the insurgency in tribal areas as early as possible to give nation security political and economic stability. The writer is an academic