‘Influential capitals’ backing Sharif’s return to power: report

April 1st, 2009 - 12:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Nawaz Sharif Islamabad, April 1 (IANS) If certain “influential capitals” have their way, opposition leader Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) could soon return to the federal coalition of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, a media report Wednesday said.
“Some leading world capitals, evincing a keen interest in reshaping Pakistan’s political scene, want the PML-N to rejoin the federal cabinet and take over key economic ministries,” The News said in a report headlined “Key capitals want PML-N to rejoin federal cabinet”.

Quoting sources, The News said the interior ministry could be “offered” to the PML-N “as the country’s establishment is not comfortable with the present arrangement, as far as this particular portfolio is concerned”.

Pakistan witnessed three major terror attacks last month.

On March 3, militants ambushed a bus carrying the Sri Lankan cricket team to the Gaddafi Stadium, injuring seven players and the team’s assistant coach. Six security personnel and two civilians were also killed.

On March 27, a suicide bomber blew himself up in the restive Khyber agency along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, killing 50 people and demolishing the two-storey shrine.

On March 30, a group of heavily armed militants stormed into the Manawan police training school on the outskirts of Lahore and held over 400 trainees hostage for more than eight hours before Pakistani security forces recaptured the complex. Eighteen people - eight terrorists, eight policemen and two civilians - died in the incident.

According to The News, the reinduction of the PML-N into the federal cabinet “would serve as a comparatively dependable check on the present dispensation that lacked credibility and seriousness required for dealing with the challenges facing the nation”.

Gilani’s Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the PML-N had formed a coalition government along with two smaller parties after their one-two finish at the February 2008 general elections and had even agreed on a governance agenda.

The PML-N, however, walked out after PPP co-chair and now Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari reneged on the agenda, which included the restoration of the Supreme Court and high court judges then president Pervez Musharraf had sacked and the repeal of the controversial 17th constitutional amendment transferring key powers to the presidency from the prime minister’s office.

The judges have been reinstated while the government has initiated moves to overturn the 17th amendment.

This apart, Gilani and Sharif had met over lunch March 22 at the latter’s country villa outside Lahore to discuss the modalities of the PML-N’s return to the federal government.

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