CIVIL SOCIETY PAKISTAN

April 29, 2008

Zardari terms Murree accord a political statement

Filed under: NEW GOVERNMENT AFTER MARCH 24-2008 — civilsocietypakistan @ 9:05 pm
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THE NEWS

APRIL 29, 2008

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Updated at  
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
PPP co-chairman says parliament to debate constitutional package, resolution together; the process may take two weeks; talks to Dr Shahid Masood in Geo’s ‘Meray Mutabiq’

News Desk
RAWALPINDI: Pakistan People’s Party Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari on Monday went back on his word about judges’ restoration in 30 days, agreed in the Murree Declaration.

Talking to Dr Shahid Masood in a Geo News programme “Meray Mutabiq”, he said what he along with Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Nawaz Sharif announced in Murree was just a political statement and it could be interpreted in different ways.

He said, “What he said was not a Hadith and the Murree Declaration was just a political agreement.” He said the countdown for judges’ return was being carried out only by Geo that was off the air and his party restored it. When reminded that the ban on Geo was lifted before the elections, he said the channel was restored without its main actors. He told Dr Shahid Masood that you yourself were among those who were removed from the scene.

He said his government would never ban private TV channels for airing dissenting views. He said, in clear terms, that a resolution and an executive order for judges’ restoration would be accompanied by a constitutional package and these would be debated by parliament thoroughly.

When asked how many more days this process could take, he said at least two weeks. However, he did not commit to this deadline either. He said no existing judge of the Supreme Court would be shown the door.

When pointed out that in this case the number of judges would swell to unprecedented level, he said the population of the country has increased so there was a need for a larger Supreme Court.

He said the deposed judges return was not his mission, though he wanted to solve this problem because he thought that an injustice had been committed. He said the restoration of the judges is a complex issue and experts need time to sort it out. He said the question arises if an executive order is issued for the return of the judges and the court issues a stay order, then what would be the recourse.

He frequently referred to the excesses he faced during his eight-year confinement. He said he and his friends remained victim of the judiciary. He said the Supreme Court reverted a case against him to the accountability court despite the fact that he had already undergone the sentence. The accountability court judge, he remarked, told him that when a superior court could not give him justice, he would take the case afresh.

He said though it was not mentioned in the Murree Declaration, the judges were released by a single statement of the PPP premier. He disagreed with the view that the winds of change in the country started blowing following the historic no of the deposed chief justice to President Musharraf and the subsequent movement by lawyers.

He said the people did not vote for a lawyer whose both legs were broken and another PPP lawyer Zamurad Khan whose hand was broken during the lawyers’ movement. He said people have given them vote for ‘Roti, Kapra Aur Makan’ and not for judges’ restoration.

He said neither he wanted nor he thought that Nawaz Sharif would part ways with him after April 30, the original deadline for the restoration of the judges. He said his main agenda is reconciliation and the restoration of the judges was only a part of it. He said he visited the graves of erstwhile rivals in the spirit of reconciliation.

He said not a single megawatt was added to the electricity in the country during the last eight years. He said he wanted to take stock of the economic situation of the country. He said he had applied for tickets to the party and may contest polls from Larkana and a few seats from the Punjab. However, he said the final decision in this regard would be taken later.

Zardari said he wanted to see Aitzaz in parliament, though the latter boycotted the elections. The decision about awarding ticket to Aitzaz, he said, would be taken by the party board. He said he did not want to become prime minister even if he decided to contest the polls and became a member of parliament.

He categorically said that Yousuf Raza Gilani would remain premier for five years. If he wanted to get this slot, he would have got it in the beginning as a matter of his right, Zardari said. He said a sort of post-mortem of late Benazir Bhutto was undertaken at the Rawalpindi Hospital and the establishment kept the report secret. He said the concerned doctors would be asked about this in due course of time. He said he did not want Musharraf to continue as president for five years.

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