June 9, 2008

Shahbaz rules out working with Musharraf

Filed under: NEW GOVERNMENT AFTER MARCH 24-2008 — civilsocietypakistan @ 1:22 am
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JUNE 09, 2008



Updated at  
Monday, June 09, 2008
PML-N president sworn in as Punjab CM; secures 265 votes; PML-Q boycotts session

By our correspondents

LAHORE: PML-N President Mian Shahbaz Sharif took oath as chief minister of Punjab along with a 15-member provincial cabinet on Sunday after he was elected leader of the house in the Punjab Assembly.

Governor Salmaan Taseer administered the oath to the 21st chief minister of the Punjab in the Darbar Hall of the Governor’s House. The ceremony was attended by the top PML-N leadership, judges and senior bureaucrats.

Members of the provincial cabinet who took oath included Sardar Dost Muhammad Khosa, Chaudhry Abdul Ghafoor, Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman, Sanaullah Khan, Ahmed Ali Aulakh, Nadeem Kamran, Kamran Michael, Iqbal Chunnar, Raja Riaz, Tanvir Ashraf Kaira, Haji Ishaq, Dr Tanvirul Islam, Neelum Jabbar, Haji Ehsanuddin, Ashraf Sohna and Farooq Yousuf Ghurki. Haji Ishaq, who is performing Umrah, did not take oath.

Except Dost Mohammad Khosa, all other cabinet members were ministers in Khosa’s outgoing government. The PML-N leaders present on the occasion included Makhdoom Javed Hashmi, Ishaq Dar, Sartaj Aziz, Sardar Zulfiqar Khosa, Hamza Shahbaz, Khwaja Saad Rafiq and Inamullah Niazi. However, it was learnt that there was no representation of the PPP leadership apart from two female MPs and the members of the cabinet.

Lahore High Court Chief Justice Syed Zahid Hussain, the Punjab chief secretary and IG were also present. Governor Salmaan Taseer congratulated Shahbaz Sharif upon taking oath while the two later held a one-to-one meeting.

Earlier in the day, Shahbaz received 265 votes in the house of 271 legislators while the opposition PML-Q abstained from participating in the proceedings. The proceedings which were scheduled to start at 10:00 am were delayed for two hours due to the absence of Shahbaz Sharif. Outgoing chief minister Dost Mohammad Khosa, before the voting, requested Speaker Rana Iqbal to form a committee to convince the PML-Q legislators, who were protesting outside the assembly, to come into the house. The PML-Q had announced a boycott of the proceedings complaining that the opposition leader was not notified about the session and was also not given his chamber in the House. However, Deputy Speaker Rana Mashhood who was sent to convince the protesting legislators returned to inform the house that the PML-Q members had already left their temporary camp installed outside the assembly.

The speaker, after starting proceedings, informed the House that he had examined all 30 nomination papers filed for Shahbaz Sharif and had found them correct. After completion of the voting procedure, the speaker declared that since Shahbaz had received 265 votes, therefore under article 130, he represented the majority of the members in the House. He later congratulated the new leader of the House for assuming charge for the second time and hoped that he would address the issues of inflation, unemployment, law and order and other problems.

The speaker also announced formation of a panel of chairmen comprising Raja Tariq Kiani, Makhdoom Ahmed Mehmood, Mehr Ishtiaq Ahmed and Dr Faiza Asghar. Later, addressing a press conference, the newly-elected chief minister Shahbaz Sharif ruled out establishing working relationship with Pervez Musharraf, terming him an unconstitutional president. Answering a question about a safe exit for Musharraf, Shahbaz said he had no personal feud against Musharraf, rather he had been his friend in the past. Shahbaz said he had worked as a bridge between Musharraf and Islamabad in the past but added, “What sort of working relationship can we have with a person who violates the law and works against the national interest?’ He said his relations with anyone would be based on the Constitution and in the larger interest of the country.

To a question about a rift in the coalition government over the issue of the judges, Shahbaz ruled out any differences between the two partners. He said both the PPP and PML-N are agreed on the restoration of the judiciary and the only difference lies in the modalities.

He said in India the coalition partners had differences over the nuclear technology provided to India by the US, but the coalition did not break up despite this difference. He expressed hope that the coalition government would remain intact and there would be no problems in moving ahead.

To a question about participation of the PML-N in the lawyers’ long march, Shahbaz said the PML-N is committed to the restoration of the judiciary and the party leaders would certainly participate in the long march.

Answering a question about the chances of Nawaz Sharif meeting with President Musharraf, Shahbaz said first he (Musharraf) used to talk about ‘kicking’ us and now he is going for negotiations. He said Nawaz Sharif had categorically stated earlier that talks with Musharraf would be possible only if Musharraf quit the office of president. He repeated that he was an unconstitutional president.

He also said that he would soon meet Zardari to discuss the issue of the judiciary so that a solution could be found to avoid the lawyers’ protests. Stressing upon the restoration of the judiciary, he said it was the need of the hour as no nation could survive long without a free and independent judiciary.

He further said that the politics of the PML-N are not based on political victimisation, but that no one could be spared for violating the law. Shahbaz said the country had been facing the problem of corruption formany years but in the last few years, it had reached its peak. He said the whole nation is under debt and those who are responsible for plundering public wealth would be dealt with strictly.

He said dictatorship has never been in favour of the country. He said that the country disintegrated during Yahya Khan’s dictatorship and it also suffered seriously during the Musharraf era. He said despite tall claims about prosperity, the country is facing a huge shortage of 5,000 MW of electricity and various other crises.

Answering a question about the construction of the Kalabagh Dam, he said it must be constructed with national consensus. He said the previous government did not do anything but only gave importance to the ‘uniform.’ The chief minister said they did not even construct the Bhasha Dam, and the nation faced a great loss as a result. On the other hand, Shahbaz said it is strange that the present government, which is just eight weeks old, is being criticised by the failed rulers.

The CM said that both the major coalition partners have given great sacrifices during the long struggle against dictatorship. He said workers and leaders of both the parties faced oppression during the dictatorship eras. Shahbaz said slain PPP chairperson set a precedent by sacrificing her life for the sake of democracy, whereas the PML-N leaders had to face exile.

He further said both the families of Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari had to face great trouble at the hands of dictators, however their struggle has finally been rewarded. Answering a question about the occupation of the Journalists’ Colony, Shahbaz said extortionists are seen everywhere because of the dark rule of the last eight years and all the issues would be resolved according to the law.


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