Pakistan’s premier to be named when parliament meets Monday

March 20th, 2008 - 11:04 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Benazir Bhutto
Islamabad, March 20 (DPA) Pakistan’s National Assembly or the lower house of parliament will convene Monday and the coalition-leading Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) will name the new prime minister, officials said Thursday. The son of slain former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and future PPP chairman would announce who would be the next premier when the parliament convened Monday, PPP spokesman Farhatullah Babar said.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Bhutto’s 19-year-old son appointed titular PPP chairman, is taking time out from his studies at Oxford University to visit Pakistan.

“He will announce the prime minister. That will be when the next session of parliament convenes on Monday,” Babar said, declining to name who it would be.

“I cannot say who the front-runner is, that might be misleading,” he said.

The PPP had agreed Asif Ali Zardari, co-chairman and widower of Bhutto, would announce the next prime minister, but he decided his son should do so.

President Pervez Musharraf called the next session to convene at 4 p.m. Monday, the president’s spokesman Rashid Qureshi said.

Qureshi added speculation Musharraf would delay calling that session was wrong.

Bhutto’s PPP finished first, and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz of Nawaz Sharif, also a former premier, finished second in the Feb 18 election, while the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid, Musharraf’s political backers, finished a distant third.

The PPP and Sharif’s party formed a coalition after ironing out differences, including how to address the issue of restoring senior judges Musharraf deposed in November.

Restoring the judges has become a central issue for the coalition signalling a showdown with Musharraf.

Musharraf removed more than 60 senior judges under an emergency order Nov 3. He sacked the judges to prevent the Supreme Court from disqualifying him for another presidential term.

Once the deposed judges are reinstated, they can revoke the approval and force Musharraf to leave office. But Musharraf has shown no signs that he will step down willingly.

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