Gilani, Nawaz come together, agree to resolve issues (Lead, Changing Dateline)

March 22nd, 2009 - 10:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Nawaz Sharif Lahore, March 22 (IANS) Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani Sunday stressed the need for joint efforts toward tackling the “daunting challenges of terrorism and economic downturn” in the country after reconciliatory talks with Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif.
He made the remarks at a joint press conference with Nawaz Sharif following a meeting at the home of former Pakistan prime minister in Raiwind Sunday. The meeting was organised as part of the government’s reconciliatory effort with the PML-N after week-long protests in the country over the reinstatement of the sacked judges.

The prime minister said he had come to Raiwind with “an olive branch and a message of reconciliation” from the government and President Asif Ali Zardari.

He said an atmosphere of reconciliation would have to be created in the country which is facing daunting challenges such as terrorism, economic downturn and other problems.

Suggesting that PML-N would not disrupt the present Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) led government in the country, Sharif said: “The Pakistan Peoples Party is batting first and, therefore, should be allowed to play the whole innings.”

The joint press address comes after former chief justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry got back his office Sunday, a week after the government gave in to protests that took the nuclear-armed nation to the threshold of widespread civil unrest.

Sharif congratulated the prime minister, President Zardari and the nation on the restoration of the judges.

Sharif told reporters that his party was ready to extend all cooperation to the ruling PPP. He said he would now seek legal action for ending the emergency rule (Governor’s rule) in Punjab and also on the issue of his non-eligibility from contesting polls.

He said the PML-N is ready to support the PPP if the government repeals the 17th amendment.

Both the leaders reiterated their pledge for implementing a “Charter of Democracy” in Pakistan.

The prime minister said both the PML-N and the PPP share the same view on the supremacy of parliament. “We want to reconcile with the PML-N.”

The prime minister said the political mandate in the Punjab province would be respected and the party with the majority would be invited to form the government there.

The judges issue had soured relations for over a year between the PML-N and President Asif Ali Zardari’s Pakistan Peoples Party that had come together to form a coalition after the February 2008 general elections.

The two parties had even agreed to a governance agenda that included the restoration of the judges and the repeal of the controversial 17 amendments to the constitution Musharraf had rammed through in 2003, transferring most of the prime ministerial powers to the presidency.

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