Musharraf’s turn to flex muscle with Pakistan Peoples Party

May 23rd, 2008 - 5:34 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Pervez Musharraf
By Muhammad Najeeb
Islamabad, May 23 (IANS) President Pervez Musharraf has sent strong signals to the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)-led coalition government not to take any steps aimed at curtailing his powers, especially to dismiss parliament and appoint armed services chiefs, sources in the government said. “I can’t say if it’s a threat, warning or advice but the PPP has been told by the presidency not to go ahead with any amendment in the constitution to curtail the president’s powers,” a PPP leader told IANS, requesting anonymity.

He said the president has also withdrawn his aides from the backdoor negotiations going on with the PPP leadership. He said that earlier two close aides of Musharraf were holding talks with the senior PPP leadership since Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) withdrew their ministers from the cabinet.

The presidency’s reservations were conveyed to the government a day after PPP chief Asif Ali Zardari said in an interview that Musharraf was the stumbling block on the path to democracy.

The beleaguered PPP is now being pressed to choose between Musharraf and PML-N. PPP sources said PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif had told the PPP that he was ready to accept an “altogether new judiciary” for the Supreme Court and the high courts, and would not insist on the restoration of former chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and several other senior judges, as long as PPP agreed to the removal of Musharraf and Punjab Governor Salman Taseer.

“PML-N is ready to join back the federal cabinet and move backward from its demand for judges restoration if PPP sends Musharraf home and appoints some neutral person to the presidency,” said the PPP leader.

Hinting that Musharraf’s days in office may be numbered, Zardari had said that there was “tremendous” pressure from people who want the President’s ouster and that he has “no choice”.

Describing Musharraf as a “relic of the past”, Zardari, however, admitted that the President still enjoys powers under the constitution to dissolve parliament and dismiss the prime minister.

But the “bottom line” was that the people of Pakistan wanted Musharraf to go, Zardari said.

Media reports say that Musharraf is expected to meet Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani soon to express his reservations over the prevailing situation. He is reportedly concerned that chances of foreign investment are reducing because of economic conditions.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in South Asia |