Putting a halt to terrorism and promoting democracy must be at the top of the agenda for Pakistan's next president, Germany's foreign ministry has said in the wake of Pervez Musharraf's resignation.
President Musharraf has said he'll step down
Pakistan's next president needs to focus on regional peace and development, a spokesman for Germany's foreign ministry said after Pervez Musharraf announced his resignation on Monday, Aug. 18.
"Peaceful conflict resolution with its neighbors and decisiveness in fighting terrorism in all its forms are of crucial importance to us," spokesman Stefan Bredohl told a regular government news conference.
Pakistan and Afghanistan have been at odds over how to deal with a wave of attacks by Islamist extremists. Afghan President Hamid Karzai has accused Pakistan's intelligence services of supporting a Taliban-led insurgency against his administration.
Germany promises support
Some have celebrated Musharaf's announcement
Bredohl said Berlin would support an effective Pakistani leader who fostered democracy and the rule of law.
Musharraf, Pakistan's strongman since leading a military coup in 1999, announced he will step down in the face of an impending impeachment motion by the ruling coalition government. The political crisis has paralyzed Pakistan for the past year. Musharraf faces charges of "gross misconduct and violation of the constitution," the country's ruling coalition announced on August 7.
There were reports of celebrations in cities around Pakistan following Musharraf's announcement.
Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, in Sweden for a meeting, said he was "not surprised" to hear that Musharraf had resigned and that he hopes it calms the country's internal politics "as we need Pakistan now as a partner for the stability of the region."
Pakistan urged to follow its constitution
Pakistan's ruling coalition publically welcomed the announcement and said that Senate chairman Mohammadmian Soomro would take over as interim president until an election can be held. Germany echoed calls of other Western nations for Pakistan to follow its constitution in choosing a new president.
This is a chance for Pakistan to bolster its democratic institutions, Bredohl said Monday.
"Germany will continue to stand by Pakistan in the future as the country develops and stabilizes its democracy," he said.