PML-Q facing defections, may support Musharraf’s impeachment

April 18th, 2008 - 2:59 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Pervez Musharraf
By Muhammad Najeeb
Islamabad, April 18 (IANS) The size of Pakistan’s former ruling party, which was badly defeated in the February polls despite the blessings of President Pervez Musharraf, is getting smaller with each passing day. The Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), which was formed at the behest of Musharraf after his 1999 military coup against Nawaz Sharif’s elected government and by breaking Nawaz’s party, is facing a string of defections.

Several legislators of the PML-Q in the National Assembly and provincial assemblies have formed separate blocs. The party as a whole is distancing itself from Musharraf.

“Now we have decided to favour the restoration of judges and we may also favour the impeachment of the president,” a PML-Q legislator told IANS on condition of anonymity.

“The party is finished…and soon there will be no one in parliament to favour Musharraf,” Sharif recently told reporters.

Musharraf, under pressure from domestic and international forces, quit as army chief last December and took oath as a civilian president for a five-year term.

Kashmala Tariq, once a staunch supporter of Musharraf, says she and about 25 other PML-Q parliamentarians are planning to form a separate bloc within the party.

Another legislator told IANS that the bloc will favour the restoration of judges and may favour Musharraf’s impeachment if parliament opted for it.

However, sources said that instead of impeaching Musharraf, the ruling coalition is planning to create a situation that will force him to quit.

The ruling coalition led by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has given final shape to the constitutional amendments package that will divest the president of all discretionary and other powers, crippling his authority in all respects.

Presently Musharraf enjoys powers of dismissing the government and dissolving parliament. He can also appoint the armed forces chiefs. After the proposed amendment in the constitution these powers will be clipped.

Sources said Musharraf would find it difficult to cling to the presidency once his powers are gone and dismissed judges, including Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, are restored.

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