February 20, 2008

Musharraf must quit – AND GET LOST: Zardari, Nawaz

Filed under: POST-ELECTIONS 2008 — civilsocietypakistan @ 12:21 am
Tags: , , , , ,


FEBRUARY 20, 2008


* PPP co-chairman indicates coalition with PML-N
* Nawaz-Zardari meeting scheduled for Thursday
* Zardari says parliament to decide on sacked judges
* PPP CEC to name candidate for prime minister

LAHORE: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Zardari and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday separately called for President Pervez Musharraf to quit after his allies were defeated in the general elections.

“Musharraf had said he would quit when the people tell him to. The people have now given their verdict,” Nawaz told a news conference in Lahore.

“We will now take this demand (of the president’s resignation) with us to the parliament and see which political forces support us,” Zardari told BBC after a meeting of his party’s Central Executive Committee.

Earlier, talking to reporters at a press conference at Zardari House in Islamabad, he said he would form a coalition government, but ruled out an alliance with the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q).

“We will act as government in waiting with our allies and form the government after mutual discussions. We are not interested in any party that has been part and parcel of the previous government,” he told.

He told BBC that he did not acknowledge the PML-Q as a political party, but was ready to talk to all other political parties and even Baloch nationalist leaders. He said he would only consider meeting President Musharraf if his party permitted him to.

“We are fighting for the independence of the parliament. These issues will be discussed in the parliament where Nawaz Sharif will also be with us, along with other friends,” he told reporters.

Nawaz-Zardari meeting: Zardari gave a strong indication of a coalition government with PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif when he thanked the former prime minister for contesting the elections and defeating the PML-Q. “Nawaz Sharif is an experienced politician and we will seek guidance from him and other friends,” he said.

Nawaz Sharif said he would work with other opposition groups including the PPP to “rid Pakistan of dictatorship”.

“We will work with all democratic forces, all those who secured victory. I want to congratulate them and those who participated as opposition parties,” he said.

“I had a conversation with Asif Zardari today (Tuesday) and we will be meeting the day after tomorrow (Thursday) in Islamabad.” He said he had also asked Awami National Party’s Asfandyar Wali Khan to meet him in the capital.

Judges: Nawaz pledged to reappoint the judges sacked by President Musharraf under a state of emergency on November 3. “All illegal and unconstitutional steps by Musharraf on November 3 have to be rolled back,” Nawaz said.

Zardari said the new parliament would decide on the issue. “We also want the authority of the appointment of judges and several others to be with the parliament.” He demanded immediate release of the sacked judges and the arrested lawyers including Aitzaz Ahsan.

Candidate for prime minister: The PPP co-chairman said his party’s Central Executive Committee would decide on the new leader of the house and the leader of the opposition after consulting its allies.

“Although this is not a pleasant time for us, as our leader Benazir Bhutto has been assassinated, but still we are content that we have won the elections,” Zardari said. He said his party would persuade its allies on a United Nations-led investigation into Benazir Bhutto’s murder. afp/daily times monitor/ staff report


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