LAHORE-President Pervez Musharraf told the nation he was resigning much as he did when he was taking over: in a televised speech at a time of day (or night) when there is normally far less than the usual primetime audience. Of course there were big differences: the most obvious was that back in 1999, he did not speak from the Presidency's broadcast facilities, while he spoke in uniform, which was absent this time round. Also, this was a scheduled speech, which began more or less on time, while back then the speech was broadcast later than anticipated, and there is always a difference between broad daylight and past the middle of the night. That speech did not contain all of the self-praise that this speech contained. This time around, Musharraf was able to include his personal record. Indeed, for almost his whole audience, the speech included too much self-praise and reminiscence, and not enough about the decision to resign, especially the terms under which the resignation occurred. Musharraf did make clear that he would be staying in Pakistan, but there was nothing about which city he had selected. There was nothing about the three immediate political crises that his resignation created: the restoration of the judges to their pre-Emergency situation, the choice of a successor, and the absence of a pardon for him or his crimes. In fact, Musharraf will be remembered mostly for having given up the Presidency rather than restore the Chief Justice he had, to his mind, retired. Now the way is open for the restoration of the judiciary, though the PPP could still cause a delay by saying it wants to wait for the newly elected President. Though the PML-N has indulged in a lot of pre-impeachment talk of a trial for Musharraf, he will have to be pardoned, simply by reason of the co-accused, some of whom are probably still in service. However, the position Musharraf is in at the moment, suits the administration: an ex-President without a pardon, who cannot be tried except with the permission of the federal government. If the co-accused are kept in mind, the acting President, or at least his elected successor, will have to keep the pardon option open. The President's speech was very briefly an argument for him having taken over, with a listing not just of why the takeover, but also a lot of detail about the work that had been done under Musharraf. There was also a defiant disclaimer of any responsibility for the economic crises that face the nation. And there was a solid defence, based on facts and figures, none of the plea he could have taken, that he was President, not PM. By implication, he was very much in-charge at this time, not the PM. One thing missing was anything about the War on Terror, and Pakistan's role therein. The nearest he came was when he mentioned 9/11, and its fallout, but apart from this throwaway mention, itself quickly glossed over, he stayed away from the subject, even though it was central to his Presidency. One standard for judging the speech has not been met, whether it will contribute to proving the last speech of its kind, by a military dictator on his exit. When Musharraf left the last of his offices, he had tried to hang on to the key office, that of COAS, even though retired, by hanging on to the house. Now even that has gone. But will military takeovers now come to an end? The reasons have nothing to do with this speech. So no one should expect this speech to deter any future general from using the first speech, of takeover, as a model. The deterrence will have to be sought elsewhere. But it must be a matter of satisfaction to the political classes that a military dictator was not allowed to remain in office. That will probably be more of a deterrent for the future, for the time. At the same time, a lot of eyes will be on the PML-Q and the MQM. In the case of the former, it was always a collection of individuals, and it remains to be seen how they make their separate peaces with the various parties which they must petition too be allowed re-entry. In the case of the latter, it is to be seen how it now sheds the label of King's Party.