PML-N ministers resign from Pakistan cabinet (Lead)

May 13th, 2008 - 6:37 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Nawaz Sharif
By Muhammad Najeeb
Islamabad, May 13 (IANS) A day after Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif announced his party’s withdrawal from the cabinet, nine federal ministers of the party Tuesday submitted their resignations over disagreement on the issue of sacked judges. The resignations come six weeks after the PML-N joined the coalition government led by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). The ministers took oath of office March 31.

A close aide of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani said he has not accepted the resignations and a final decision would be taken after PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari returns in a couple of days from London.

The ministers met Prime Minister Gillani at the Prime Minister’s Secretariat, where they had lunch with him and submitted their resignations.

The two major coalition partners failed to reach an agreement on the mode of restoration of judges sacked by President Pervez Musharraf after he declared emergency Nov 3, 2007.

PML-N leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said the two mainstream parties cannot afford to part ways at a time when the country faces economic and social issues of great magnitude, including unprecedented fuel and food prices. “But we were left with no other option,” Khan told IANS.

PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif Monday announced that his ministers are withdrawing from the cabinet but the party will continue to support the coalition government.

Sharif pulled his ministers out after the failure of three days of talks in London with Zardari on the reinstatement of about 60 judges who were summarily dismissed by Musharraf.

The break-up has, however, been without acrimony with both sides promising this would not push them into confrontation.

Zardari told a private TV channel his party would not let the PML-N-led coalition government in Punjab become unstable. He is hopeful of bringing the PML-N back to the cabinet through negotiations after his return from London.

Sharif has also assured that, despite bidding farewell to the federal cabinet, his party would sit on the treasury benches and give issue-based support to the government.

A PML-N leader said the talks failed because the PPP leadership was, in fact, opposed to the reinstatement of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry.

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