CIVIL SOCIETY PAKISTAN

May 25, 2008

Upping the ante

Filed under: NEW GOVERNMENT AFTER MARCH 24-2008 — civilsocietypakistan @ 1:41 am

THE NATION

MAY 25, 2008

EDITORIAL

REACTING to PPP Co-Chairperson Asif Zardari’s remark that he lacked legitimacy, President Musharraf has promptly reiterated that he is a validly elected President. Reports appearing in the media indicate that he has decided to summon the Prime Minister to convey to him what he considers his concerns regarding the performance of the less than eight-week-old coalition government. With President Musharraf and Mr Zardari involved in an eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation, the possibility of an assault on the National Assembly is being widely discussed. On Friday, the President received three Senators who had earlier seemed to have joined the coalition camp. As they left, they announced their full support for him, indicating attempts at horse trading. With the tensions between the President and the ruling coalition mounting, there is an urgent need on the part of the PPP and PML(N) to close ranks. With the departure of the PML(N) ministers, cabinet members belonging to the PPP have been burdened with additional responsibilities, which adversely affects their performance. The uncertain situation currently prevailing would expose the government to further stresses. With Mr Zardari and Mian Nawaz Sharif working for identical goals, there is no justification any more for the PML(N) to continue the boycott of the cabinet.
Mr Zardari, who seems to have failed to persuade the President of the need to create the type of relations between the Presidency and Parliament which characterise a parliamentary form of government, must now review his policy of linking the judges’ restoration with the constitutional package. With the President unwilling to recognize the sovereignty of Parliament and continuing to be adamant on retaining Article 58(2b) as the Damocles’ Sword hanging over the head of the National Assembly, the only guarantee for the security of the elected Lower House is an independent judiciary which has not taken oath under the PCO. What is more, there is little hope of the passage of the constitutional amendments in the presence of President Musharraf There should be no delay under the circumstances in the restoration of the deposed judges by delinking the issue from the constitutional package.
With the 62-point constitutional agenda having been vetted by the PPP committee, it should be circulated among the coalition partners. Meanwhile the leadership of the four parties should meet to decide how to foil attempts to destabilize democracy.

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