CIVIL SOCIETY PAKISTAN

June 8, 2008

Sovereign parliament to impeach president: Zardari

Filed under: NEW GOVERNMENT AFTER MARCH 24-2008 — civilsocietypakistan @ 8:53 pm
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THE NEWS

JUNE 08, 2008

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Updated at  

Sunday, June 08, 2008

By our correspondent

MADINA: PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari on Saturday reacted confidently to President Pervez Musharraf’s media talk, saying if he was not heeding the advice to quit, the sovereign parliament would take up his impeachment in a democratic way, according to the Constitution.

Addressing a news conference here, along with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, before taking the special flight for Jeddah to meet the Saudi king, Zardari did not mince any words.

“If Musharraf is not ready to go as I had advised him some time back, rather he has indicated during his press talk with senior journalists of Islamabad to stay on, then the sovereign parliament has the absolute powers to decide his future,” the PPP leader said.

Zardari was asked about Musharraf’s remarks and told now that Musharraf had refused to listen to his earlier “friendly advice” of quitting the presidency voluntarily to avoid impeachment, what new advice he would give to a stubborn president.

Zardari said he had not heard the press conference of Musharraf but added parliament was always a supreme body of the country and it might send the president or even the prime minister home by adopting a democratic way as defined in the law and the Constitution.

He said if Musharraf was ready for this democratic way of ouster, then parliament might debate his impeachment. But, he did not elaborate when parliament might take up the issue of impeachment of President Musharraf.

On the issue of the judges’ restoration, Zardari said that these judges would be restored in line with the new constitutional package. He said it was wrong to assume that Nawaz Sharif and the PPP had some serious differences, which might lead to the break up of the coalition government. Zardari said: “We need to understand that the PPP ministers are still working in the Punjab cabinet and they were not withdrawn, as it was done by the PML-N.” But, he hoped that the PML-N ministers would soon rejoin the federal cabinet.

Later in the day when Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and Zardari arrived at the Jeddah airport, both were given a red carpet reception by the governor of Makkah.

Both are pinning high hopes on their meeting with the king as the future plans of the Pakistan economy and the new government greatly rest on the generosity of the king.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani explained the purpose of his visit to Saudi Arabia and said the focus of the talks would be on four issues – economic, international, regional and terrorism. He said no doubt there was a big oil crisis in the world and Pakistan was also facing the same situation. Gilani said only those countries would survive in the coming days that would be self-sufficient in oil and food supplies. He said that Pakistan was lucky that it had agriculture lands available to meet its food requirements.

When asked what sort of cooperation Pakistan was offering to the US government in the tribal areas to capture Osama bin Laden, Gilani replied that Pakistan was not fighting the war of America in the tribal areas as being falsely perceived. He emphasised that this was Pakistan’s own war and it would deal with it.

He said even Benazir Bhutto had lost her life because of terrorism in Pakistan so this issue was our own to deal with and “we will fight against these forces of terrorism”. One Saudi journalist asked why stability could not come to Pakistan as was the case with India, Gilani replied that democracy had never been given a free hand to take its roots in the country because of the military interventions. He said the PPP leadership, right from Zulfikar Ali Bhutto to Benazir Bhutto, had offered their lives for the sake of democracy in Pakistan.

He said Asif Zardari and he himself remained in jail to bring democracy and the party would continue to work for peace and democracy in the country. Gilani also expressed the hope that the issue of judges would also be sorted out soon and parliament would also restore a balance between the powers of the president and prime minister.

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