Hidden forces working to impose martial law: Zardari

May 29th, 2008 - 3:27 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Pervez Musharraf

Islamabad, May 29 (IANS) Charging “hidden forces” with attempting to impose martial law, Asif Ali Zardari, co-chair of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), has warned that any move against the government may snuff out democracy in the country. “Some hidden forces” wanted to see another round of martial law and were out to “create such circumstances” and collect material that could be used against the PPP government, Zardari said while speaking to representatives of the Punjab and North West Frontier Province chapters of the People’s Lawyers Forum (PLF) here.

He said such forces were also active during the time of former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who was overthrown and sent to the gallows by the then Pakistan Army chief, Gen. Zia-ul Haq.

Zardari reiterated that the PPP wanted not only to reinstate the judges deposed after an emergency was declared last year but also to introduce constitutional reforms to ensure that all state institutions worked in accordance with their roles defined in the statute.

“We told Mr Zardari that the PLF will not become a part of any long march or movement that can lead to the wrapping up of democracy,” Dawn Thursday quoted Khurram Khosa, a PLF member from Lahore, as telling Zardari.

An umbrella group of Pakistani lawyers has decided to stage a long march from June 10 unless the Supreme Court and high court judges whom President Pervez Musharraf had sacked after declaring an emergency last November are immediately reinstated.

The PPP had initially agreed to this but then backtracked, saying it would first introduce a constitution amendment package in parliament and then restore the sacked judges. This prompted coalition partner Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) to pull its nine ministers out of the government.

The PML-N, however, remains a part of the ruling coalition.

The PPP has prepared a 62-point constitutional amendment package that aims at curbing the sweeping powers of the president and at restoring the provisions of the 1973 constitution that have been severely eroded over the years.

The package will be tabled during the parliament’s budget session beginning June 2.

According to Khosa, the PLF had assured Zardari that it would support the constitutional package and stand behind the party in its endeavour to reform institutions.

He said Zardari had assured the PLF that it would be provided with the draft of the proposed constitution amendment bill on Saturday, the day on which it has called a lawyers’ convention in Lahore.

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