CIVIL SOCIETY PAKISTAN

May 15, 2008

Future of coalition is bright, says Zardari

Filed under: NEW GOVERNMENT AFTER MARCH 24-2008 — civilsocietypakistan @ 1:50 am
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DAILY NEWS

MAY 15, 2008

* PPP co-chairman says he is not considering any setup without Nawaz Sharif
* Says resolution to restore sacked judges will be tabled in joint parliamentary session

By Zulfiqar Ghuman

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari said on Wednesday that he was still engaged in talks with Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif and “the future of the [ruling] coalition is bright”.

He was addressing a press conference at his house during a break in his consultations with party members on co-operation with the PML-N, especially in Punjab, after the PML-N’s federal ministers resigned due to differences on the framework for the restoration of the judges sacked on November 3, 2007.

Zardari said the PPP had the support of a majority of members in parliament, but wanted to take the PML-N along in line with its policy of reconciliation.

Not without Nawaz: “I am still engaged with [Nawaz]. The Punjab Assembly is here to stay. There will be no no-confidence move against the PML-N government in Punjab. I am not thinking of a setup minus Nawaz Sharif,” he said.

Regarding the differences between the two parties, he said: “[Nawaz] wants the restoration of the sacked judges through a notification, and to denotify the working judiciary.” Zardari said the move could create a new constitutional crisis as the incumbent judges could seek a stay-order from court, and that it was against his re-conciliation policy. He said his party wanted to restore the sacked judges without disturbing the working judges — by increasing the sanctioned strength of the Supreme Court to 27. “This is not as big a crisis as is being portrayed by the media,” he said.

Resolution: A resolution for the restoration of the sacked judges would be tabled in a joint session of the parliament, he said. Zardari said that he did not approve of President Pervez Musharraf’s November 3 measure but did not want to rectify one illegal move with another.

He said the lawyers’ movement had been led by the PPP and “our party sacrificed more than anybody else did”.

Zardari said he was following a policy of reconciliation for the sake of a better future for Pakistan and was even ready to co-operate with the people who had ‘cut his tongue and throat’.

Regarding his meeting with the United States ambassador prior to the press conference, Zardari said that the US and the West want to know if the coalition government would pursue the war on terror.

“The foreign forces forced Musharraf to take off his uniform and hold comparatively free elections,” he said. “It was the late Benazir Bhutto’s dialogue with Musharraf through foreign friends that convinced him to take off his uniform and allow democracy in the country.”

“They are also supportive of democracy in Pakistan,” he added.

Earlier, Zardari also met Awami National Party leader Asfandyar Wali Khan and discussed the political situation, after resignations by the federal ministers belonging to the PML-N. It was decided during the meeting that the PPP would continue its efforts for reconciliation and consult all the coalition partners on all important issues.

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