Musharraf ready for ‘reduced powers’

April 8th, 2008 - 8:44 am ICT by admin  

Pervez Musharraf

Islamabad, Apr.8 (ANI): A cabinet minister who has been mediating between the government and President Pervez Musharraf, has said the latter is ready to work with reduced powers.
According to The Nation,a presidential aide said:”The president has agreed to work even with the reduced powers.”
The official said the unnamed cabinet minister was mediating between the government and Musharraf.
He added that the President had conveyed to the ruling coalition that he would not interfere in administrative matters.
This development comes even as the U.S. continues to mount pressure on the Yousuf Raza Gillani-led coalition government not to go ahead with an impeachment motion against Musharraf.
The government has reportedly conveyed to Washington that it is determined to reduce Musharraf to a titular head.
An 18th Constitutional Amendment is expected to be introduced in Parliament that will take away many crucial powers of the President. This amendment is being given final shape by a committee of Pakistan Peoples Party and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz legal experts.
The provisions of the Charter of Democracy signed between former prime minister and head of PML-N, Nawaz Sharif, and PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari would be followed by the coalition.
According to the charter, the government will restore judges and will make the parliament independent and sovereign, which means Musharraf will not enjoy the powers he had since he overthrew Sharif’s elected government in 1999.
Sources said there were some differences over the mechanism for restoration of judges between the two major coalition partners but they have been resolved.
The package will also determine the status of the steps taken by Musharraf after he imposed emergency in the country on Nov 3, 2007.
The draft package says that the power of the President to dissolve the National Assembly under Article 58(2)b of the Constitution, appoint provincial governors and services chiefs, impose governor’s rule in any province or declare a state of emergency would be withdrawn.
After the removal of Article 58(2)b, the President will not be able to impose emergency. The power for the appointment of governors will be transferred to the Prime Minister while high-ranking army officers will also be appointed through the Premier’s orders.
Sources added that the package would also support the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) and ensure that it could not be challenged in any court.
The NRO introduced by Musharraf provided amnesty to assassinated former prime minister and PPP Chairperson Benazir Bhutto as wells as several leaders of her party. Some of the politicians granted amnesty under the NRO are members of the new cabinet.
The constitutional amendment will also propose some judicial and jail reforms while relief packages for lawyers and judges have also been included in the package.(ANI)

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