Sharif refusal on US tour ‘disturbs’ Zardari

July 18th, 2008 - 4:10 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Nawaz Sharif

Islamabad, July 18 (IANS) Asif Ali Zardari, co-chair of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) that leads the country’s ruling coalition, is “deeply disturbed” over the refusal of alliance partner Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) head Nawaz Sharif to accompany him on a visit to the US later this month, a media report Friday said. In Zardari’s scheme of things, the leaders of the two main coalition partners would have accompanied Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on his maiden US visit to send out a powerful message to the American administration, The News said.

“Had all the powerful civilian players of the present political dispensation travelled together to Washington, the weight and importance of such a joint US visit would have had exceedingly increased,” it quoted a Zardari aide as saying.

Zardari “feels agonised over Nawaz’s decline and has told his confidants that the PML-N was in no way helping the coalition work smoothly, and was rather making things very difficult for the government”, the newspaper added.

The relations between the two leaders have soured ever since Zardari backtracked from a promise to restore the Supreme Court judges President Pervez Musharraf had sacked after declaring an emergency last November.

Nawaz then pulled the PML-N ministers out of the government even as the party remained a part of the coalition.

In June, the judges were theoretically restored when the Supreme Court strength was raised from 16 to 29 to retain the new bench Musharraf had sworn in under the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) that was promulgated along with the emergency.

The actual reinstatement of the sacked judges is, however, yet to happen.

“Zardari feels let down because of Nawaz Sharif’s refusals, including the previous one when the PML-N chief had declined to go to Saudi Arabia with him and Gilani for a meeting with King Abdullah,” The News quoted the aide as saying.

“The majority of PPP leaders are becoming increasingly edgy over the fact that their government was not working as desired mainly due to the incapacitation being consistently caused to it by the PML-N,” the newspaper commented.

“They smell a conspiracy but don’t name the conspirators. Some of them have started saying in private that the time when the ruling alliance will fall apart will come soon because the PPP may not be prepared to suffer in this way anymore,” it added.

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